Olympians for Life
Two photographs: One story of passion and determination. The Olympic spirit lives on well beyond an Olympian's competition days. Some Olympians devote their lives to promoting peace; others fight for women's rights or to improve the lives of disadvantaged young people. They draw on their Olympic experience to help make the world a better place.
Simidele Adeagbo OLY – Nigeria, Skeleton
Using sport to overcome adversity
“Sport is a hugely powerful tool. By creating my Simisleighs masterclass we help inspire and empower girls from some of the world’s most marginalised communities. The network of sport is so powerful because you’re surrounded by others who are also purpose driven and it’s about working together to move forward.”
Alain Calmat OLY – France, Figure Skating
Giving back to society after a life in sport
“During the final three years of my skating career, I attended medical school as I wanted to become a surgeon and build a successful career after retirement. Having experienced 4 Olympics, I truly believe in the Olympic Movement and what it stands for so I wanted to dedicate my post-Games life to helping others and making a positive impact.”
Clara Hugues OLY – Canada, Speed Skating and Cycling
Encouraging meaningful conversations within sport
“It wasn’t until after the 2010 Olympics that I learnt how to share my own struggles with mental health. In sharing my story so many people have since opened up about their own stories. I think there is still a long way to go in creating more access to support for athletes. It’s more than just supporting someone to succeed, it’s supporting someone in their struggles and that effort to succeed.”
Shiva Keshavan OLY – India, Luge
Creating opportunity through Winter Sports
“My experience as an Olympian gave me a great platform to help provide more opportunities for younger generations to get involved with sport. There is a lot of value that Olympians can add to a country’s sporting success post their competitive career. The next ambition of mine is to continue to promote the Winter Games and the Olympian movement in India and the wider Himalayan region.”
Ben Sandford OLY – New Zealand, Skeleton
Leading the fight for cleaner sport
“It is so important that sport maintains its integrity, fairness and equality. Athlete representation in decision making is key to maintaining these values within sport and is something we must all strive for if we want a future cleaner and fairer sport.”
Julius Achon OLY
Overcoming the odds to empower the next generation in Uganda
“Throughout my time competing I have been passionate about giving back to my community during times of hardship. Fundraising for health centres, taking care of orphans and coaching the next generation of Ugandan athletes has been incredibly fulfilling and these are all causes I continue to support. In life, never give up. Be determined and learn how to bring others to follow your footsteps, because this will change the world.”
Donna de Varona OLY
Blazing a trail for women’s equality in sport
“Being an Olympian is a foundation of opportunity and hope. My experiences as a 13-year-old competing at the Rome 1960 Olympic Games changed the trajectory of my life and inspired me to fight for equal opportunity for all. I would tell all Olympians to persevere and never give up. We have the tools and the ability to organise and create real change that benefits the entire world.”
Rachael Lynch OLY
Giving back to communities and fighting COVID-19
“Working as part of Australia’s COVID-19 response has been hugely rewarding and something I feel strongly about contributing to as a trained nurse. I have been afforded so many opportunities from the sports community throughout my career so far and it’s hugely important for me to take every opportunity I can to give back - especially during these challenging times for the world.”
Koji Murofushi OLY
Rebuilding Japan through sport
“Following the Japan earthquake in 2011 I saw first-hand the incredible effects sport can have on communities impacted by disasters. This inspired me to use my sports administration role and my experiences on and off the field to use the power of sport to open up more opportunities for others to participate in sport and understand the benefits of adopting healthy lifestyles.”
Alan Pascoe OLY
Pioneering the modern sport business landscape
“When you reach the Olympic level in many cases you have proven you can achieve the impossible and having achieved the pinnacle in sport Olympians can achieve the same in life beyond competing. I’ve dedicated my post-Games life to developing the sports industry commercially, but also to creating more opportunities for children to play sport in order to equip them with the valuable lifelong skills it provides.”
To find out more about Olympians for Life and our past inductees please click HERE.
PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games
Tracy Evans OLY (USA)
Encouraging Children To Play Together Respectfully.
"Children don't have preconceived ideas about who should be stronger, faster or better. Realising that sport could shift gender norms and create a level playing field inspired me to create Kids Play International. Olympians, taking a few hours out of your training schedule will not significantly impact your athletic career, but giving back will, and will have a great impact on the lives of others."
Devon Harris (JAM)
Inspiring Children To Make Their Dreams Come True
"Bobsledding teaches you to keep on pushing. I grew up in a poor, violent area. I started my foundation based on what I learned at the Olympics to give children hope. Knowing that I'm making a positive impact on a child's life, that I can inspire them to achieve their dreams, has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life."
Manuela Di Centa (ITA)
Striving To Reach The Highest Levels In Sport And Life
"Competing at the Olympic Games made me understand that the best results are the ones you work hardest for. Once you reach the podium, the biggest satisfaction is telling yourself that the path you took was right even if it wasn't easy. Climbing Mount Everest allowed me to know my limits, my fears, my weaknesses as well as my balance, my talents and my faith."
Johann Koss (NOR)
Making The Right To Play A Reality
"I have seen the power of sport to rebuild communities and lives. I felt I could use my athletic career and my personal success to support children affected by war and return some normalcy to their lives. Right to Play was founded on the values that inspire the Olympic Movement and the fundamental belief that all children should havethe opportunity to participate in sport."
Chiharu Igaya OLY (JPN)
Finding fulfilment through a lifetime of giving back to sport.
"Nothing gives me greater pleasure than knowing I have contributed what little I could to make the world a better place through my work in the Olympic Movement." "Who I am and what I have achieved is thanks to the kindness and support of many people. It is so important to express your respect and appreciation to your family, friends, colleagues and society in general."
Rio 2016 Olympic Games
James D. Wolfensohn (AUS) 1933-2020
A life devoted to justice and equitable development
"Walking into the Olympic Stadium I realised literally for the first time that I was part of a global community. I felt empowered and wanted to empower people everywhere. That led me to try to tackle major global challenges such as peace, education, social justice, corruption, health and the environment, and guided my work in life and as President of the World Bank.”
Tegla Loroupe (KEN)
Bringing together divided communities, promoting peace and progress
“I grew up in a conflict zone. I lost relatives. Becoming an Olympian meant overcoming difficulties, hard work and having respect. Without peace, the children don’t have time for education; there is no hope for progress. Disarming one bad person saves many lives. As an Olympian I have an obligation to speak out and to give back."
Jackie Silva OLY (BRA)
Using volleyball to make a difference in the lives of the poor
"The neighbourhood where this school is located is tough. What volleyball does for the kids is magical. They feel that they belong to something important, and it helps them stay out of trouble. They start to believe that they can have a better life. My experience as an Olympian has given me the courage to do things like this.”
Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom (IND)
Teaching children in India to follow their dreams
"When I reached the Olympic podium, I gained confidence and started to dream bigger. The Academy was established for young people from poor and remote areas. We offer free world-class training expert mentoring, and also send the students to school, bearing all expenses, to make sure they grow in all aspects and follow their dreams."
Micheline Ostermeyer (FRA)
In pursuit of excellence: From Olympic podium to concert stage
An Olympic gold medallist and accomplished concert pianist, Micheline excelled on two distinct stages that many deemed incompatible. She practised the piano five hours daily during her preparations for the track and field competition at the 1948 London Olympics and lived the Olympic values well beyond the sports arena.