Laureus World Sports Academy Members and Laureus Ambassadors are accomplished athletes who volunteer their time to support our mission. They truly believe in sport’s ability to change lives for the better. By attending our events, visiting programs and speaking to the press, they help bring new awareness to sport as a tool for social change.
More than 60 sporting legends make up the Laureus World Sports Academy, led by Chairman and rugby legend Sean Fitzpatrick. More than 200 champion athletes have also pledged as Laureus Ambassadors. They all share a belief in the power of sport to break down barriers, inspire change and improve the lives of young people around the world.
At age 12, Tony Hawk began winning amateur contests, at 14 he turned pro, and at 16 he was widely regarded as the best competitive skateboarder in the world. By the time he was 25, he had competed in 103 pro contests, winning 73 of them and placing second in 19 competitions. He was crowned Vertical Skating’s World Champion 12 years in a row. Considered one of the most successful and influential pioneers of modern skateboarding, Tony was the first skater to land a “900” — a trick involving the completion of two-and-a-half mid-air revolutions on a skateboard. In 2009, he was inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame.
At the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics, Nadia Comaneci became the first female gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10 in an Olympic gymnastics event. By the end of the 1976 games, she would earn seven perfect 10s, three gold medals, one bronze, and one silver medal. Four years later at the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, Nadia earned two more gold medals and two silver medals, bringing her Olympic total to nine medals — five gold, three silver, and one bronze. In 1996, Nadia was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
To help raise money and awareness for our mission, Nadia recently walked the runway at our Fashion Show Gala:
Edwin Moses is a three-time Olympian who won gold medals in the 400-meter hurdles at both the 1976 and 1984 Olympics. Between 1977 and 1987, Edwin won 107 consecutive finals and set the world record in his event four times. In addition to running, Edwin has been an innovative reformer in the areas of Olympic eligibility and drug testing, and he serves as Chairman of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). In 1994, Edwin received an MBA from Pepperdine University and was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. In 2000, he was elected the first Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy.
As a Laureus Academy Member and our chairman, Edwin recently spoke at our Youth Leadership Summit in Atlanta:
Mark Spitz is a nine-time Olympic champion and former world record-holder in seven events. Between 1968 and 1972, Mark won nine Olympic gold medals: a silver and a bronze; five Pan American gold medals; 31 AAU titles; and eight NCAA titles. During those years, he set 35 world records — two were in trials and unofficial.
With a career spanning four decades, Martina Navratilova is widely regarded as the greatest female tennis player of all time. She won an unprecedented 59 Grand Slam titles, including a record nine Wimbledon singles championships; 167 singles and 177 doubles championships. Martina was the Women Tennis Association’s (WTA) “Tour Player of the Year” seven times, named the Associated Press’s “Female Athlete of the Year,” and was declared one of the “Top 40 Athletes of All Time” by Sports Illustrated. After being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, she continued to compete in WTA events and the 2004 Olympic Games. In 2006, at the age of 50, she became the oldest player to ever win a Grand Slam title as a mixed-doubles champion at the US Open.
Marvelous Marvin Hagler was the undisputed World Middleweight Champion from 1980 to 1987. He made 12 undisputed title defenses and holds the highest knockout percentage of all undisputed middleweight champions, at 78 percent. He is an inductee of the International Boxing Hall of Fame and of the World Boxing Hall of Fame.
The youngest-ever French Open Champion at the age of 16, Monica Seles went on to win eight Grand Slam singles titles before her 20th birthday (nine in total.) She was the year-end World Number 1 in 1991 and 1992.
Missy Franklin is a five-time Olympic gold medalist in swimming. She won gold at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, adding to her four gold medals from the 2012 Olympics in London. In her career, she has earned a total of 11 World Championship titles, as well as four individual NCAA titles.
She is the youngest ever Laureus Academy Member, and has helped amplify sport as a tool for social change by visiting programs and speaking at our events.
In September 2018, Missy participated in our Day of Action, inspiring youth from Laureus-supported programs in New York City:
An NBA All-Star point guard, who currently plays for the Houston Rockets, Chris Paul has won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, an NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, and two Olympic gold medals. He led the NBA in assists four times and steals six times, being the all-time NBA leader in the latter category. Chris also has been selected to nine NBA All-Star teams, eight All-NBA teams, and nine NBA All-Defensive teams. Since 2014, he has served as the President of the National Basketball Players Association.
As a Laureus Ambassador, Chris spoke at our 2018 Summit:
Currently a team captain and forward New York Knicks, Lance Thomas won the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship with Duke University in 2010. Lance also won a bronze medal playing for the US Basketball Team at the Pan American Games in 2011.
As a Laureus Ambassador, Lance has attended many of our events, and recently met with youth in New York City:
Allyson Felix is the most decorated track and field athlete in history and the only female track and field athlete to ever win six Olympic gold medals and a total of nine Olympic medals, winning a silver medal in Athens in 2004, gold and silver medals in Beijing in 2008, three gold medals in the 2012 London Olympic Games, and following it up with two more gold medals and another silver medal in Rio in 2016. The 2012 US Olympic 4×100-meter team set the women’s 4×100-meter world-record that still stands. Allyson is also the most decorated athlete in IAAF World Championships history with 16 career medals. She is a participant in Project Believe, a voluntary drug-testing program which goes beyond the normal drug-testing requirements to protect clean athletes
Chamique Holdsclaw is a three-time NCAA Champion, six-time WNBA All-Star, and Olympic Gold medalist. Holdsclaw played for the University of Tennessee, and is the all-time leading scoring and rebounder in SEC women’s history. In 2000, she was named Naismith’s Player of the Century for the 1990s and was part of an ESPY award given to the Lady Vols as Co-Team of the Decade for the 1990s. In 1996, 1997 and 1998, Chamique was named to the Final Four All-Tournament team.
As a Laureus Ambassador, Chamique has attended the launch of Sport for Good Atlanta:
Kelly Clark is a five-time Olympian and a three-time medalist, winning a gold medal for women’s halfpipe at the 2002 Winter Olympics and competing in the halfpipe event again in the 2006 Winter Olympics. She won a bronze medal in the halfpipe in both the 2010 Vancouver Games and the 2014 Sochi Games. Kelly has made 15 X Games appearances and holds six US Open Titles.
Alonzo Mourning holds an Olympic gold medal from the 2000 Olympics and the 2006 NBA Title with the Miami Heat. Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014, Alonzo still works in player development for the Heat.
Bob Lujano is an international public speaker who covers the topics of independence, disability, competitive sports, physical fitness, and the benefits of a healthy active lifestyle. He is a member of the Lakeshore Demolition wheelchair rugby team, which has five United States Quad Rugby Association (USQRA) National Championships (1998–2003). Bob was selected to the US Paralympic Rugby Team, and he won a bronze medal at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. In April 2014, Bob was elected as the President of the USQRA.
An Italian professional basketball player, currently playing for the LA Clippers, Danilo Gallinari was picked sixth overall in the 2008 NBA Draft. He was selected to the Sophomores team in the 2010 T-Mobile Rookie Challenge at NBA All-Star weekend in Dallas. He participated in the 2010 Foot Locker Three-Point Contest at All-Star weekend in Dallas, finishing fourth. Active in the community, he participated in the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders goodwill tour to Senegal, Africa, in August 2010.
Felix Sanchez is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the 400-meter hurdles, winning gold medals in 2004 and 2012. He also holds the 2001 and 2003 World Championship title in the 400-meter hurdles. Just before turning 36, Felix set the Masters M35 World Record with a time of 48.10. An American by birth, he is of Dominican descent and competed for the Dominican Republic. He earned two of the three Olympic gold medals ever won by an athlete from the Dominican Republic.
Competing since 1996, Jamie Bestwick is a dominating force in BMX Vert. He has won a record-breaking nine consecutive Vert titles at X Games before his silver medal finish in 2015. He holds 12 of the 22 BMX Vert gold medals awarded in X Games history.