DOUBLE OLYMPIC SILVER MEDAL WINNER AND ABU DHABI OCEAN RACING SKIPPER IAN WALKER BECOMES NEWEST LAUREUS AMBASSADOR

  • World-famous sailing skipper teams up with Laureus to inspire South African youngsters in Cape Town

  • ‘It’s a great honour to be a Laureus Ambassador, sport is a great way of teaching young people life skills’ – says Ian Walker

CAPE TOWN, November 15, 2014 – One of Britain’s leading sailors, Ian Walker, winner of two Olympic silver medals and the skipper of Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) contender Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, was named the newest Laureus Ambassador in Cape Town today.

A week after skippering his team to victory in the first VOR leg from Spain to South Africa, Walker welcomed a group of young people from Laureus-supported community projects in Cape Town on board ADOR’s yacht Azzam to meet the crew and tour the boatyard.

The youngsters then watched from the waterfront as Azzam, which is sponsored by Laureus Global Partner IWC Schaffhausen, took part in the Cape Town In-Port race.

Ian Walker said: “It’s a great honour to be asked to be a Laureus Ambassador and I was delighted that we were able to get the youngsters along from Laureus projects in Cape Town to meet the crew. Yachting depends on teamwork and harmony among the crew and I was able to explain that to the kids. That’s why sport is a great way of teaching young people life skills. I am really looking forward to taking part in more activities for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

The youngster who toured Azzam came from five projects in Cape Town, which are supported by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation: Great Commission United; Grassroots Soccer; Indigo Youth Movement; Vuka Rugby and Waves for Change.

At the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, Walker and sailing partner John Merricks took the silver medal in the 470 class. Three years later Walker teamed up with fellow Brit Mark Covell and at the Sydney 2000 Games the pair won the silver in the Star class.

Walker has also been involved in two America’s Cup campaigns. When Britain launched its first bid for the America’s Cup for 14 years, Walker was named as skipper, but lost to US yacht Stars and Stripes in the quarter-finals of the 2003 qualifying competition. For the 2007 America’s Cup, he joined fellow Olympic medallist Iain Percy as the tactician of the Italian team +39.

Walker is a trustee of the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST), created following the death of his first Olympic partner in a road accident. JMST provides funding and support to young sailors and youth sailing organisations to help them achieve their goals.

Ian Walker joins an impressive list of current and former sportsmen and women around the world who support and promote the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Ambassadors volunteer their time to work for the Laureus Foundation, whose mission is to use sport as the means to combat some of the world’s toughest social challenges facing young people today such as juvenile crime, gangs, HIV/AIDS, discrimination, social exclusion, lack of education, landmines awareness and health problems such as obesity.

Since its inception Laureus has raised over €60 million to improve the lives of millions of young people and currently supports more than 150 community sports projects in 34 countries.

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Laureus is a universal movement that celebrates the power of sport to bring people together as a force for good. Laureus is composed of three core elements - the Laureus World Sports Academy, Laureus Sport for Good and the Laureus World Sports Awards - which collectively celebrate sporting excellence and use sport as the means to promote social change. The first Patron of Laureus was Nelson Mandela. At the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000, he said: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.” This has become the philosophy of Laureus; the driving force behind its work. The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy are: Giacomo Agostini, Marcus Allen, Franz Beckenbauer, Boris Becker, Ian Botham, Sergey Bubka, Cafu, Bobby Charlton, Sebastian Coe, Nadia Comaneci, Yaping Deng, Marcel Desailly, Kapil Dev, Mick Doohan, David Douillet, Rahul Dravid, Luis Figo, Emerson Fittipaldi, Sean Fitzpatrick (Chairman), Dawn Fraser, Cathy Freeman, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Mika Häkkinen, Tony Hawk, Maria Höfl-Riesch, Mike Horn, Miguel Indurain, Michael Johnson, Kip Keino, Franz Klammer, Tegla Loroupe, Dan Marino, Yao Ming, Edwin Moses, Nawal El Moutawakel, Li Na, Robby Naish, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova, Alexey Nemov, Jack Nicklaus, Brian O’Driscoll, Alessandro Del Piero, Gary Player, Morné du Plessis, Hugo Porta, Carles Puyol, Raúl, Steve Redgrave, Vivian Richards, Monica Seles, Mark Spitz, Sachin Tendulkar, Daley Thompson, Alberto Tomba, Steve Waugh, Katarina Witt, Li Xiaopeng and Yang Yang. The Laureus Academy Members volunteer their services as global ambassadors for Laureus Sport for Good, which was set up to promote the use of sport as a tool for social change. Laureus Sport for Good addresses social challenges through a worldwide programme of sports related community development initiatives. Since its inception, Laureus has raised over €100 million for projects which have helped to improve the lives of millions of young people. The mission of Laureus Sport for Good is to use sport as a means to combat some of the toughest social challenges facing young people today such as violence and crime, discrimination, unemployment, lack of education and health threats including HIV/AIDS and obesity. The Laureus World Sports Awards is the premier global sports awards honouring the greatest sportsmen and women across all sports each year. The winners are selected by the ultimate sports jury – 60 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, the living legends of sport honouring the great athletes of today. The Awards are presented at an annual Awards Ceremony, attended by global figures from sport and entertainment, which is broadcast to 160 countries and territories. The Awards continue to support Laureus Sport for Good by showcasing the incredible work it does with athletes and partners to transform the lives of individuals and promoting to a global audience the power of sport as a development tool to combat challenging social issues. Laureus was founded by its Patrons Richemont and Daimler and is supported by its Global Partners Mercedes-Benz and IWC Schaffhausen. Mercedes-BenzMercedes-Benz is the inventor of the automobile – and has been passionately shaping its future since 1886. As pioneers in automotive engineering, it is both our inspiration and responsibility to continue the tradition of the brand with trailblazing technologies and high-quality products. Like no other trademark in the automotive world, Mercedes-Benz appeals to both the hearts and minds of its customers. We give our very best for customers who expect the very best. Since the founding fathers Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, our corporate history has been one of innovation and pioneering achievements. Many technical innovations that are nowadays standard in automobiles first entered the market in a Mercedes-Benz. This is the basis for our claim to leadership in automotive engineering. The brand stands for Modern Luxury, and enjoys an outstanding reputation for quality, safety, comfort, design and comprehensive, sustainable mobility. IWC SchaffhausenWith a clear focus on technology and development, the Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has been producing timepieces of lasting value since 1868. The company has gained an international reputation based on a passion for innovative solutions and technical ingenuity. One of the world’s leading brands in the luxury watch segment, IWC crafts masterpieces of haute horlogerie at their finest, combining supreme precision with exclusive design. As an ecologically and socially responsible company, IWC is committed to sustainable production, supports institutions around the globe in their work with children and young people and maintains partnerships with organisations dedicated to climate and environmental protection.

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t’s a great honour to be asked to be a Laureus Ambassador and I was delighted that we were able to get the youngsters along from Laureus projects in Cape Town to meet the crew. Yachting depends on teamwork and harmony among the crew and I was able to explain that to the kids. That’s why sport is a great way of teaching young people life skills. I am really looking forward to taking part in more activities for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
Ian Walker