London, May 4, 2012
Among the glitzy surroundings of London’s Dorchester hotel yesterday, Academy Member Michael Johnson launched the new memoir of his sporting life, Gold Rush, having chosen the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation to be the sole charity beneficiary for the occasion.
Hosted by Ian Robinson, who welcomed everyone to the gala lunch with some very funny sport anecdotes, the event included a ‘silent auction’ allowing people to bid for a range of unique sports memorabilia.
Proceeds from the auction will go directly to the Foundation, supporting efforts worldwide to offer life-changing sports opportunities to disadvantaged children.
The lunch was kicked off with a speech by Director of the Foundation, Ned Wills. And in addition to a showing a new short film of Academy Members at work around the world, Ned spoke to the attendees about how Laureus are using sport to inspire communities and young people on all continents.
The man of the hour was, of course, Michael himself. And having introduced the attendees to Laureus Chairman Edwin Moses, who was a special guest at the lunch, Michael took part in a fascinating question and answer session with writer and former Olympian Matthew Syed.
And considering the remarkable work Michael carries out inspiring people through sport worldwide, it’s no surprise he was keen to talk about how sport had inspired him as well.
He said: “[I was inspired by] Jesse Owens who was just the most amazing sprinter and most amazing athlete ever, and I think most people understand what he did in 1936 in Berlin… I was very inspired by him.
Two very excited special guests being accompanied by Edwin on the day were young project members of the Laureus-supported International Inspiration project in Tanzania, Johnathan and Rabia.
The two 16-year-old sports lovers are in London to volunteer at the UK School Games this week and Laureus.com will be finding out more about this exciting experience when they visit the Laureus-supported Track Academy project next week.