The Keep Fighting Award winner is designed to give an insight into the courage and strength released when the human spirit is challenged by almost impossible adversity.
The first winner of the Keep Fighting Award in 2017 was Vanessa Low from Germany, gold medallist in the long jump at the Paralympics in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2021.
Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg presented the award to Vanessa in the presence of then FIA President Jean Todt. This is his eulogy:
"Vanessa Low embodies in an almost striking way the values that the Keep Fighting Initiative wants to promote: Keep Fighting. Staying open and positive to new influences. Overcoming resistance. Never give up.
When she was 15, she was standing at the train station in Ratzeburg, came - pushed or fell, she never wanted to clear it up because she finds it unimportant - under a train and lost both legs. The doctors told her she would never walk again. Six years later, she was part of the German team for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. London, however, was a disappointment, and Vanessa was on the verge of retiring from competitive sport. But she decided to make a radical change. She went to train in the USA and found her fun in the sport again.
This was the second deep setback, which she turned into a personal success with courage and energy. The Paralympics in Rio 2016 became a personal triumph: gold medal and world record in the long jump / silver medal and personal best in the 100 metre run.
Vanessa Low is inspiring with her straightforward, combative attitude and her almost sunny charisma. She is a role model in taking new paths, letting others share in new experiences and putting setbacks behind her. She is thoughtful and reflective and at the same time open and international. She does not look back with hesitation, but forward with curiosity. She is a lovely fighter, tough on herself and sensitive to others.
Vanessa Low stands for success and excellence against all odds. She is the perfect ambassador for the attitude that giving up is not an option."