Morne du Plessis is one of the original Laureus Ambassadors. We spoke to him about his life with Laureus:
"I was one of the founding Laureus Academy Members. The journey for me has been a life-changing journey, it really has. Having a sporting career and having another bite of the cherry has been incredible. I’ve made friends for life - for example, for me to have ever thought that I could actually be a friend of Marvelous Marvin Hagler…we come from such different worlds. Sport-wise, culture-wise…everything. We are so far apart in everything, but we have a bond which has been generated through Laureus and sport.
"His values and my values when it comes to the importance of sport in society are the same. Our backgrounds are poles apart but that sums up the Laureus Academy.
"I’ve been involved with Laureus for longer than I was a rugby player! To see the evolution of our methodologies, to see how the programmes have developed all over the world is unbelievable. Maybe in the early days it was hit and miss and we learned as we went on. It’s certainly not hit and miss now.
"I’ve been very closely linked to the South Africa Foundation which is very active. We have 28 programmes active in South Africa and it’s like I’m an employee!
"There’s so much South African DNA in Laureus, starting with Nelson Mandela. Without him there would be no Laureus - there’s no doubt about that. As a South African I have huge personal pride – when Madiba came to the hotel to meet us all at the first awards in 2000, it’s one of the highlights of my life so far. He was introduced to all of the Academy Members around the table and then he turned to me and said, “Ah Morné! How are you?” I’ll remember that day forever.
"And that’s the best of Laureus. I’m an honorary Academy Member now, but I’m still part of the family and it’s a huge privilege. It’s been a hell of a journey."