German figure skating legend Katarina Witt and Dr. Karl-Georg Altenburg, J.P. Morgan’s CEO for Germany/Austria, are the center of attention prior to the 2012 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Frankfurt.
Impressed by spirit of runners, Witt
backs cause of Corporate Challenge
FRANKFURT, May 7, 2013 — Her Olympic gold medal skating performances in Sarajevo and Calgary are more than two decades removed, yet Katarina Witt is still fondly remembered not only for her singular accomplishments, but for the spirit she displayed on and off the ice.
That same spirit shown through at the 2012 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Frankfurt, when Witt was the official starter for the world's largest road race, whose beneficiaries included her Katarina Witt Foundation. Not surprisingly, Witt related most to the spirit of the 68,586 participants who gathered in the heart of Frankfurt from across Germany for the 5.6 kilometer corporate team road race.
"I was so impressed by the number of runners and mostly by the incredible spirit and energy of everyone attending," Witt said. "To fire the gun and send them all off was the most fun for me."
Photos show her smiling and waving at the start. They weren't difficult images to capture as Witt watched what was literally a small city pass in front of her at the starting line stage.
She remembers, she said, thinking "to not stop waving and smiling. (It was) great. It's a great feeling for a former athlete to meet your fans and be able to cheer for them as a spectator for a change and have them work up a good sweat for a great cause."
That cause once again will be front and center at Frankfurt's 2013 Corporate Challenge, scheduled for June 12. Specifically, J.P. Morgan will make a donation on behalf of the participants to support the German Handicapped Sport Youth Foundation (Behindertensportjugend) and will include Witt's foundation.
The effort is part of a long-term relationship between the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge and Deutsche Sporthilfe, which has covered six years and provided more than 1,25 million Euros for sports for the disabled. Frankfurt's 2012 Corporate Challenge helped benefit a Paralympic Summer Youth Camp in conjunction with the 2012 London Paralympic Games, organized by Witt's foundation.
The Corporate Challenge's commitment to disabled sports resonates with a grateful Witt.
”With the support of J.P. Morgan, the Katarina Witt Foundation was able to co-finance the Youth Olympic Camp in London financially," she said. "The Olympic Youth Camp is sending young people without and with a handicap together to the Olympic Games. The group is able to watch Olympic competitions, but also is organizing own activities. The goal is to turn on the Olympic spirit in those young athletes."
It is that type of spirit, she said, that leads to dreams, which is why she is so passionate.
"Since I have been fortunate to have my dreams fulfilled throughout my entire career, it comes from my heart to be able to help kids with less luck in their lives," she said. "Together with my committed team, we have been able to help lots of kids to bring back hope, help and support to conquer their dreams. But we know there are a lot more kids waiting."
Now, she is looking ahead to June 12 and the 21st running of J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Frankfurt.
"I am sure everybody who gets there is already full of drive, energy and festiveness," she said. "That's what makes this race so special. We all hope that J.P. Morgan will keep and extend its engagement in that wonderful yearly event."