Laureus legends among sporting royalty who gather to honour veteran journalists in Rio
August 9, 2016
Yesterday, a star studded line-up of Laureus Academy Members and other Olympic Champions honoured veteran journalists in Rio de Janeiro. The Laureus legends who were present included five-time Olympic champion Michael Johnson, local Brazilian football legend Cafu, South African golf great Gary Player, IOC Vice-President, Nawal el Moutawakel and Tegla Loroupe, Chef de Mission of the of the first ever Refugee Team to feature in the Olympic Games. Other prominent guests included HRH Prince Albert ll of Monaco and two-time Olympic champion and broadcast journalist Donna de Varona.
Organised by the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) in partnership with Laureus, the "Olympic Journalists on the Podium" reception was held at the Tokyo 2020 Japan House, in the heart of the Barra da Tijuca Zone. Around 100 members of the media also joined as a new chapter in the celebration of Olympic journalism was written at the iconic Tokyo2020 Japan House at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Journalists who have covered 10 or more Olympic Games in careers and an outstanding dedication spanning over three decades, were honoured with limited edition Rio 2016 replica torches provided by AIPS Gold Partners and official Olympic merchandiser Honav.
This is the third time that AIPS honours veteran colleagues who have covered 10 or more Olympics, after highly successful ceremonies at the 2012 Summer Games in London and the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. The inaugural event in London, AIPS honoured sport journalists at the P&G House in a celebration that gathered more than 100 members of the media.
AIPS President Gianni Merlo, who has covered 11 Summer and 11 Winter Games himself, was delighted to shine the spotlight on the journalists who play such an important role in the promotion of the Olympic Games." I am very pleased that AIPS partners Honav, Laureus and our friends from Tokyo 2020 joined us to host this very special event recognising international media."
The eyes of the sporting world are on Rio, and the Laureus Academy Members at the event did not pass up the chance to remind everyone of the true power of sport. Indeed, all Academy Members share a belief in the power of sport to break down barriers, bring people together and improve the lives of young people around the world.
Addressing the media, Michael Johnson reiterated that “we are working on every continent to used sport to improve the lives of young people and whatever coverage you give us is an enormous help. Since 2000, Laureus has supported more than 150 sports-based community projects in 35 countries which combat social challenges facing young people such as such as violence and crime, discrimination, unemployment and a lack of education.”
Brazilian icon Cafu expressed what sport means to him and what he hopes to accomplish as Laureus Academy Member: “Sport gave me everything I have and made me who I am. Sport is my passion, is what inspire me. I hope I can give back to the future generation everything that I have learned during life: respect, discipline and kindness. I think these are the three keys we have to keep for our lives.”
Athletics legend Tegla Louroupe even recalls some of her best memories with Laureus: “One of the most powerful things about Laureus is the work of the Foundation. I visited COBAP in Uganda, a project using sport to educate young people about HIV/AIDS. I was there to announce the winner of the IWC drawing competition. I had a chance to meet the young orphan participant who had drawn the winning drawing to be carved on the watch. This young girl had no parents but she had talent and hope and this is largely due to the work of the Foundation.”
For these and many of the Laureus Academy Members this summer, being in Rio de Janeiro brings back great memories from the 2013 Laureus World Sports Awards held at this year’s Olympic Host City. Indeed, the legacy of the Laureus Awards in Brazil is alive and well today as Laureus Sport for Good currently supports five sports-related community projects in the country. The Foundation is able to support, through sporting activities involving educational programs, over 7.000 children annually living in conditions of extreme economic and social deprivation, in the Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
The Olympic Games will no doubt take this legacy to the next level, inspiring a generation of youth that will use sport to change their lives. As Nelson Mandela said at the first Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000: “Sport has the power to change the world.” This has become the philosophy of Laureus and the driving force behind its work.