In a year of firsts for Dominic Thiem, the 27-year-old has now been crowned as Austria’s 'Sportsman of the Year' for the first time in his career. The World No. 3 won the coveted title for 2020 over the likes of David Alaba (football), Nikola Bilyk (handball), Stefan Kraft (Ski Jumper) and Matthias Mayer (alpine ski racer).
The award was handed out at a low-key ceremony on Tuesday evening in Vienna. There were no spectators at the Sporthilfe gala given the COVID-19 regulations, but the nominees were very much present.
The selection was done by a voting process in which all full members of the Austrian sports journalists association - Sports Media Austria (SMA) - were eligible to vote. Dominic Thiem appeared delighted at being adjudged the winner, and upon receiving the trophy he spoke glowingly about the honor of being bestowed with such a prestigious award.
“I am overjoyed and would also like to congratulate the other top athletes,” Thiem said. “More than just one athlete deserves this award every year. I am happy to be in line with the really big ones now. The names on the list of winners are impressive. And to be there now is a great honor.”
In the tweet below we can see the moment when Thiem was declared as the winner:
The award - also known as 'Niki' - has eluded Dominic Thiem for a long time. He had finished second on three previous occasions and third in two other instances, each time watching legendary alpine ski racer Marcel Hirscher emerge victorious.
But this time, Thiem managed to get his hands on Austria’s most coveted sporting award by virtue of having had the best season of his career by far.
Dominic Thiem won his maiden Slam title at the US Open two months ago, and replaced Roger Federer as the third-highest ranked player in the world. He also managed to reach the final of the Australian Open, where he lost narrowly to Novak Djokovic.
With his win in New York, Dominic Thiem became the first Austrian since Thomas Muster in 1995 (French Open) to win a Major. He also became the third male tennis player to take home the title of Austria's best sportsman, after Thomas Muster (1990, 1995) and Jurgen Melzer (2010).
Dominic Thiem’s margin of victory was the biggest in 18 years
Dominic Thiem won the award by amassing a whopping 1183 points in the voting. That was a full 736 points more than Bayern Munich footballer David Alaba, who stood second with 447 points.
It is pertinent to note, however, that the star footballer has won this award twice before - in 2013 and 2014.
In third place stood ski jumper Stefan Kraft, with 410 points.
Dominic Thiem’s victory margin of 736 points was the highest in 18 years. The last time there was such a high margin was back in 2002, when Stephan Eberharter had triumphed over Fritz Strobl by a mammoth 1140 points.Published 11 Nov 2020, 10:56 IST