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.

  • James D. Wolfensohn (AUS)

    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 (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.