German Sports Aid Foundation A valuable initiative for sustainable promotion of talented athletes

How do I get ahead? This has been a decisive question in Sebastian Magenheim's career thus far. In any situation: The answer he found has always been the same: through inner strength and the firm determination to motivate himself anew every day and to become a bit better.

With this motto, since earliest childhood he has proved that he is a "bounce-back artist" in the true sense of the word. Sebastian Magenheim has a congenital bone marrow disease, which has hindered the development of some muscles, tendons and bodily functions from the hips down. Nevertheless, with his strong will, he has defied doctors' predictions that he would never be able to walk: He drew himself up on the edge of the table and took his first steps. That was about 25 years ago. Today, Sebastian Magenheim is an excellent wheelchair basketball player and future masters degree student. He recently finished his bachelor degree course in "social innovations management" at the University in Munich. Sebastian Magenheim emphasizes the importance of building up a second mainstay in addition to his athlete's career: "With a few exceptions, competitive athletes cannot support themselves through sports on a permanent basis. That's why it is advisable to look ahead and get further education during one's active career."

Sebastian Magenheim

This is also recognized by Mercedes-Benz, which has been supporting male and female athletes from all disciplines through its commitment as sponsor of the German Sports Aid Foundation (Deutsche Sporthilfe) for more than 20 years. The company thus plays an important role in helping athletes to manage the balancing act between their sports training, competitions, business training, academic study and job. Six years ago, Mercedes-Benz expanded its commitment to become one of the four "national sponsors" of the German Sports Aid Foundation together with Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Telekom and Luftansa. In this function, Mercedes-Benz makes a material as well as ideational and social contribution to the sustainable promotion of top German athletes. The support covers all Olympic disciplines, tradition-rich non-Olympic types of sports, as well as sports for the disabled and deaf. Wolfgang Schattling, Head of Motorsport Marketing Communication and Branded Entertainment: "Mercedes-Benz is an established partner of the sports. We are happy to be able to contribute to the diversity and high athletic performance in German sports together with the German Sports Aid Foundation."

Sebastian Magenheim

Since its creation in 1967, the German Sports Aid Foundation has done pioneering work in the area of sports promotion and is the first institution worldwide to bring companies and athletes together for their mutual benefit. The civic initiative became a model of privately organized sports promotion and is currently considered to be the most successful independent institution for sports promotion in Europe. The Sports Aid Foundation promotes the idea of top athletic performance, but opposes manipulation in sports. It represents fair play, the integrity of sports, and their importance for peaceful social coexistence. It views the promotion of athletic elites and role models as an important step in the communication of the message of sports in society. Performance, fair play and cooperation: These are values that also strengthen the country. The Sports Aid Foundation is actively engaged in material, ideational and social promotion of athletes who demonstrate top performance and can represent the Federal Republic of Germany and its societal system internationally beyond the realm of sports through their appearance and high motivation.

Sebastian Magenheimin the lecture hall at the "Sporthilfe Elite-Forum" in Wesseling. Source: picture alliance/Frank May for Deutsche Sporthilfe

Sebastian Magenheim first learned about the extraordinary discipline of "wheel-chair basketball" from a former school friend. He watched the game, watched again, and then began to play with growing enthusiasm. The success and, finally, the participation in the Paralympics in London came through the enjoyment of the game and the inner motivation. What followed was being elected to the all-star team of the Euro League, the contact with the German Sports Aid Foundation and via the "Initiative Values Scholarship" also directly to Mercedes-Benz.

Sebastian Magenheim with Peter Kloeppel on a field trip on RTL in Cologne as part of the Elite Forum. Source: picture alliance/Frank May for Deutsche Sporthilfe

This is where Sebastian met his mentor Philipp Wex in the framework of the mentoring program, which provides financial support for the athletes and represents another aspect of the promotion by the German Sports Aid Foundation with additional support from the "Initiative Value Scholarship". The mentor maintains close contact with him and supports his dual career track with advice and practical assistance - starting from support on career and study questions to facilitating interesting contacts in the company and providing specific insights into the working life and opportunities in a corporate group.

Shooting of the commercial for "Sportschorle", a benefit product of the Deutsche Sporthilfe. Source: picture alliance/Robert Schlesinger for Deutsche Sporthilfe

The volunteer mentors, who accompany the selected athletes over several years, are successful personalities from different areas of society with corresponding leadership qualities. Philipp Wex, Senior Manager Speech & Advanced Control Technologies in department MBC Development and Group Research, is one of these mentors.

Sebastian has a great interest in the automotive industry and can identify strongly with the values of Daimler and the views of his mentor, such as the steadfast ambition and drive to continuously develop and improve things. Sebastian Magenheim: "Changes come from the inside, decisions are made in one's head. Using the example of cars, this could be described as follows: Powertrains change – to electric and hybrid drivetrains in place of the usual gasoline engines. There is a change on the inside, and in the handling, but no great difference that is visible from the outside. The sheet metal and wheels will stay the same. Only the inside changes. People are similar: The decisions in our heads guide us and our actions."

In nearly five decades of activities on behalf of top sports, the German Sports Aid Foundation has developed effective contemporary concepts for its athletes to enable them to give their best not only during athletic competitions but also outside the tournaments. The long-term goal of the foundation is to increasingly orient promotional activities to increasing the compatibility of top sports and education as a decisive task and responsibility for value-based sports promotion.

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