Michael Schumacher is one of the greatest sports personalities in Germany. The Formula 1 legend is still present many years after his serious skiing accident. In an emotional ceremony, Schumacher will now be presented with the highest award in North Rhine-Westphalia.
At a moving ceremony, Michael Schumacher was awarded the State Prize of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. Mrs. Corinna, daughter Gina and father Rolf accepted the award on their behalf. At the end of the event, the Schumacher family received emotional applause lasting several minutes, which moved Corinna Schumacher to tears.
Schumacher's longtime companion Jean Todt had previously stirred the hall with a moving laudatory speech. Corinna and Gina did not speak at the ceremony themselves, Schumacher's son Mick was absent in Cologne after he felt uncomfortable in the morning and did not start the journey from the family's adopted home in Switzerland.
"I'm proud to be able to call Michael my friend. And I'm just as proud to have a very close friendship with his family," said ex-Ferrari team boss Todt in his speech, which he gave entirely in German in honor of Schumacher held.
"Michael loved working in a team. And the team loved working for Michael," enthused Todt. And this Schumacher was the key to success in the team: "He saw himself as a team player. But in reality he was a team leader. A leader with a natural authority. A passionate fighter. A relentless opponent. A tireless worker. A driver with a love of detail."
Todt continues: "'One of us' the Ferrari mechanics affectionately called him in my time because they felt that he didn't see himself as something better. (...) And his humility and modesty always suited him well."
"Born in Hürth, grew up and went to school in Kerpen and then started driving karts on my father's racetrack," said NRW Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst at the beginning of Schumacher's roots. Because of his "excellent skills, but above all thanks to the unconditional will to always give his best in competitions", he has had an incredible career.
Wüst: "With Michael Schumacher, we are honoring a man today who not only stands out with his sporting achievements. Today we are honoring Michael Schumacher beyond racing and beyond the glaring spotlight. A person who has a big heart and who has always had it It was also important to think of others who are not doing so well." And mostly in silence.
The $10 million donation after the 2004 tsunami was known, but Schumacher also donated to flood disasters on the Elbe in 2002 and 2013, and the family last year to the devastating floods in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia. Schumacher also contributed to the establishment of a large center in Paris for people with brain and spinal cord injuries.
"Michael Schumacher has done a lot of good for others over the years," emphasized Wüst. "Michael started early on to think of others with all his successes. It started in his own family - his prize money from the Formula 3 victory in Macau, $20,000, he put on his father's dining table," said Todt .
The State Prize is the highest award of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. "There are few people in Germany who have shaped an entire sport as much as Michael Schumacher has shaped racing," said Wüst in advance of the native Rhinelander. Schumacher is still one of the outstanding personalities in global sports history and remains a role model for many people through his commitment. "I hope, we all hope that the great fighter Michael Schumacher will continue to fight, never give up, that he will make progress on the difficult path he is on," Prime Minister Wüst emphasized in his speech.