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.

Developed in partnership between the International Olympic Committee and the World Olympians Association.

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.