When you reach the pinnacle of your sport, leaving it behind can be a painful process for some. But for Mexican golfer Lorena Ochoa, retirement has been only a positive step. After a career on the course which saw her stay as world number one for three straight years, Ochoa retired aged just 28 in 2010.
She quit at the top to start a family and to increase her charitable work – including working with Laureus and also starting her own foundation. Eight years on, and there are no regrets.
“For me it was easy. I did it for the right reasons, I wanted to get married and have a family,” she smiles. “Some athletes don’t have it so easy, they might be tired or get injured but I did it on my own terms and I’m really happy.”
And Ochoa has no regrets about leaving the LPGA Tour, “There are so many things you can do away from the golf course! I’m busy every week with my foundation, exhibitions, conferences and now Laureus.”
But there was never any danger that she would step away from sport altogether and Ochoa’s work with Laureus has just been taken to the next level with her elevation to the Laureus World Sports Academy. She is now one of 68 global sports stars who help shape the direction of the Laureus Sport for Good programmes.
“It’s been wonderful! I feel honoured to be part of this special group. I’m learning a lot and getting to know the other athletes has been a lot of fun,” she said. “We have responsibility to always stay close to sport and share our different experiences of life and I love to do that.”
Ochoa joined fellow Laureus World Sports Academy members Sean Fitzpatrick and Nadia Comaneci at a programme visit in Mexico last year where she got to know more about Laureus and it’s Sport for Good work around the world.
“I had a great time in Mexico with Sean and Nadia. Sean was so relaxed and I admire Nadia a lot and it really impacted me,” she said. “I want to help and cherish the programmes in Mexico, be a good ambassador and help in any way I can.”
Ochoa was inducted into the Laureus World Sports Academy at February’s Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco, alongside fellow new Academy members former US swimming star Missy Franklin and Argentinian hockey star Luciana Aymar.