Martin_BraxenthalerAs a recreational sportsman and an internationally successful athlete, I have always preferred training when I'm surrounded by nature.

An outdoor athlete has some incredibly strong experiences and this creates a very close and intimate relationship with their surroundings over the years. You get to know nature as a perfect training site, and as a livelihood - as a spot of beauty and regeneration as well as a source of energy.

I was born, I grew up and I still live on a farm in a hamlet near the Alps. My first experience with nature dates back to my first attempts at walking on my own two feet.

Spending time with my granddad in the forest, being in the fields with my dad or learning to ski behind my neighbour's house are unforgettable memories directly linked to nature.

Further sport experiences in the course of my life exposed me to nature in all its wonderful diversity. This is how nature became such an important part of my life.

Athlete, farmer or tourist - we all rely upon nature in general and, in my case, the Alps in particular. Different groups of people "use" nature in different ways. But to make sure its beauty and its bounty are maintained, we should always work in harmony with it.

That applies to sport in particular, since outdoor sport relies on nature completely. Sport needs to be enjoyed sustainably, with an awareness of the role the natural world plays in all our lives.

In recent years a lot has already changed in the field of sport. Past experiences are incorporated very constructively in today's sports – especially when it comes to the construction of new sports venues.

The Munich 2018 bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is a good example of this new way of thinking in the world of sport. I was directly involved in the planning of the sports venues for Munich 2018.

Therefore, I am well placed to verify that incursions into the natural environment are to be carried out only if absolutely necessary and only if they comply with the bid's rigorous ecological standards.

The bid committee rejects new venues if they offer no long-term benefit, in order to minimise the impact on the environment. The result is an innovative environmental concept with athletes and nature at its core.

Modern environmental protection should not mean the curtailment of outdoor sports. It should mean enjoying sport in harmony with nature. In Munich's green bid concept, forest clearance would be minimised, artificial snow would be used sparingly and changes to the profile of the landscape would only be considered if they offer sustainable benefits.

These are the challenges the world of sport faces today. Having worked with Munich 2018, I can safely say that those challenges are faced and overcome with dedication and professionalism.

That makes me a big supporter of the bid.

Martin Braxenthaler, the legendary monoskier from Germany, is one of the greatest Winter Paralympians of all time having won 15 Paralympic gold medals, including 13 golds, across four Paralympic Games. Braxenthaler also won the 2007 Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsperson with a Disability of the Year.