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Awards

German athletes of the year: Neuner, Harting, men's eight

At a ceremony in Baden Baden, German sports journalists have awarded the country's athletes of the year award. Retired biathlete Magdalena Neuner managed the feat of defending her title.

German biathlete Magdalena Neuner (R) reacts with the Sportswoman of the year trophy next to former German swimmer Michael Gross during a gala in Baden Baden December 16, 2012. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner (GERMANY - Tags: SPORT ENTERTAINMENT BIATHLON)

Sportler des Jahres 2012

Neuner (pictured above) took the stage at Sunday's German Athlete of the Year ceremony for a final curtain call after she announced her retirement from biathlon earlier this year.

In her final season, the 25-year-old Neuner won the overall World Cup for the third year in a row and won two gold medals at the World Championship, hosted in the German town of Ruhpolding.

"This is definitely the icing on the cake of my career," Neuner said of winning her second female athlete of the year award.

Neuner, with 3,368 votes, had twice as many votes for the award as tennis player Angelique Kerber in second place. She is the first person to defend her athlete of the year award since sprinter Kathrin Krabbe in 1990 and 1991.

[35754894] Sportler des Jahres 2012
Diskuswerfer Robert Harting bekommt am 16.12.2012 bei der Proklamation der Sportler des Jahres im Kurhaus von Baden-Baden (Baden-Württemberg) von Fotograf Alexander Hassenstein die Trophae überreicht. Foto: Patrick Seeger dpa/lsw (ACHTUNG: Sperrfrist 16. Dezember 23.00 Uhr - für elektronische Medien, Internet, Rundfunk und Videotext) Foto: Patrick Seeger/dpa +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++

Harting won one of Germany's 11 golds at the London Olympics

In the men's category, discus thrower Robert Harting, beat out three-time defending Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel for the athlete of the year award.

Harting won Olympic gold in London, adding to his world championship titles in 2009 and 2011 and his European championship gold medal in 2012.

The team award went to the German men's eight rowing team, who also won gold at the London Olympics.

The athlete of the year award, now in its 66th edition, pools together votes from around 1500 German sports journalists.

mz/jlw (dpa, sid)