Sebastian Coe, one of Britain’s greatest Olympic athletes and architect of the successful 2012 London Olympic Games, used a press conference at the Laureus World Sports Awards to reaffirm the importance of sport in the education and development of young people.
Lord Coe, a Laureus World Sports Academy Member, revealed how last year’s London Olympics has inspired boys and girls throughout the United Kingdom. And he told Carlos Nuzman, President of the Organising Committee for the 2016 Olympic Games to be host ed by Rio de Janeiro, that his challenge was to ensure the Games in three years’ time will help inspire the young people of Brazil.
Ahead of the presentation of the Laureus World Sports Awards on Monday, to be made in Rio de Janeiro watched by a global television audience, Coe drew on the synergy between Laureus and the Olympic movement to emphasise the impact both organisations can have on young lives.
Coe, winner of Olympic gold medals over 1,500 metres in 1980 and 1984, who later went on to lead London’s successful bid for the 2012 Games and become chairman of the London Organising Committee, said: “Every opportunity that we have to encourage young people to take up sport is really important.
“The excitement generated by a really good Games is the platform on which you build, especially when it comes to young people. But it is one thing to encourage young people into sport. You then have to have the infrastructure, you have to have the projects, you have to have the project management and you have to have the funding to make sure that you can do something with that great demand.
“That is where Laureus has made such a big impact. It is augmenting, supplementing, and in some cases giving that critical mass of expertise and funding that can turbo-charge some of those projects.
“I’ve always said that the most potent social worker in any community is sport, and that the deftest diplomat is often sport. Being able to combine all that at a domestic and at a local level with a Foundation that is dedicated to using sport to transform the lives of young people is clearly an alignment that everybody can understand and buy into.”
Nuzman, who competed for the Brazilian volleyball team at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo and who is now a member of the International Olympic Committee, said: “I would like to thank members of the Laureus family for being in Rio de Janeiro for this event.
“I would like to say that the greatest legacy of the 2016 Olympic Games has already taken place – that was Rio de Janeiro having the winning bid for 2016. It was a victory for the city, for the country, and for the continent.
“The awarding of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to Rio de Janeiro symbolises the understanding by the world of the transformations sport can make possible. And this city will serve as an example for other regions of the world.”
Ned Wills, Global Director of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, told the press conference: “I would like to congratulate the State of Rio for the terrific efforts already made in regard to legacy aspirations.
“The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation has been working in Rio since 2003. More recently we’ve expanded our work to support new projects and programmes. This not just in terms of fundraising but in bringing the expertise of some 140 programmes around the world, developed over the last 15 years, to effectively assist and to turbo-charge those particular programmes and to give the community leaders, often the young people themselves, the tools and the equipment and the funding to deliver sport and all the benefits of sport to kids in those communities.”
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