With just two days to go until the 16th Laureus World Sports Awards, three legends of the sporting world have shared their time with Special Olympics athletes to help advocate for the creation of a unified generation.
Yang Yang, China’s most decorated athlete with 59 world titles and the country’s first ever Winter Olympics gold medal to her name, was joined by five-time Olympic gymnastic champion Nadia Comaneci and former alpine skiing Olympic champion Franz Klammer at Shanghai’s Feiyang Skating Centre. The three Laureus Academy Members spent time in a unified skating experience on the ice rink, passing their knowledge, expertise and advice onto 30 young Special Olympic athletes from a local school.
The event was another milestone in Laureus’ 11-year involvement with the Special Olympics movement, which has seen engagement and activity around the world. As well as in China, Laureus has teamed up with Special Olympics in Russia, Europe and Malaysia, using sport to benefit children with intellectual disabilities.
Laureus Academy Member and founder of the Feiyang Skating Centre, Yang Yang said:
“It was an honour to meet with Special Olympic athletes today in Shanghai, they’re an inspiration to us all and it was great to see them enjoying their sport out on the ice. Laureus has a rich history of working hand in hand with Special Olympics around the world and I’m delighted to support the organisation here in my home country.
This is also an extremely exciting time for my sport in this country with the Chinese Olympic Committee bidding to bring the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games to Beijing and Zhangjiakou.”
Laureus Academy and Special Olympics Board Member, Nadia Comaneci said:
“Having been involved with Laureus’ partnership with Special Olympics projects worldwide, I’m delighted to share this moment with these incredible young athletes. I’ve seen first-hand the incredible impact we are having with children around the world and I’m looking forward to watching the partnership continue to grow both here in China and around the world.”
Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which supports more than 150 community sports projects in 34 countries, including China. Since its inception, Laureus has raised over €60 million for projects which have improved the lives of millions of young people.