China’s Li Xiaopeng and Yang Yang Announced as Laureus Academy Members

Shanghai, Feb 10, 2015: Yang Yang and Li Xiaopeng have been elected the newest members of the Laureus World Sports Academy.

Legendary speed skater and International Olympic Committee member Yang Yang and Chinese Olympic gymnast Li Xiaopeng now become the 49th and 50th members of the Laureus Academy, a unique collection of the world’s greatest living sportsmen and sportswomen dedicated to changing the world through the power of sport.

Olympic legend Edwin Moses, Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, inducted the two giants of sport in a special ceremony at the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai. Also present at the announcement were Laureus Ambassador and coach of the Russian national team Fabio Capello and Sun Wen, voted FIFA Female Player of the Century in 2000.

Edwin Moses said: “On behalf of the Laureus World Sports Academy, I would like to welcome Yang Yang and Li Xiaopeng as our newest Members. They are both great sporting legends and people who have shown they have a greater commitment to sport than simply what happens in the sports hall or on the track. Yang Yang is an admired member of the International Olympic Committee and Li Xiaopeng is already an Ambassador and a supporter of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Laureus is committed to the growth of its activities in China and we are delighted to have two such illustrious sporting legends as members of the Laureus Family.”

The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy volunteer their time to support the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation which uses the power of sport to improve young people’s lives. Since its inception, Laureus has raised more than €60 million for projects which have helped to improve the lives of millions of young people. Currently Laureus supports more than 150 projects in 34 countries.

Yang Yang, who won China’s first ever Winter Olympic gold medals, in short track speed skating, said: “I have always admired Laureus and what it has stood for. Its first Patron Nelson Mandela said that sport could change the world, which is a sentiment with which I totally agree. I am very much looking forward to the Laureus World Sports Awards in April, when the eyes of the sporting world will be on Shanghai, but I also appreciate the amazing work that Laureus has done as a charity since 2000 and the millions of young people who have benefited from its support. As an Academy Member, I look forward to doing what I can to help in the future.”

Li Xiaopeng, who won four Olympic gold medals and eight World Championships, said: “To become a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy has made this an unforgettable day. It is exciting to see Laureus making such a commitment to my own country by electing myself and Yang Yang to join Deng Yaping as Chinese members of the Academy. I would like to thank all the members of the Laureus Academy for putting their faith in me and l assure them that I am excited to become a member of the Laureus Family and look forward to supporting Laureus in its humanitarian work.”

Following the announcement, the two new Laureus Academy Members joined celebrated Chinese football star Sun Wen and renowned coach Fabio Capello in a football session – the Laureus Sport for Good Campus Football Clinic – with Shanghai teenagers, in which they demonstrated their skills and took part in a mini football match.

The Laureus Sport for Good Campus Football Clinic was sponsored by HengYuanXiang Group (HYX), the Host Partner of the Laureus World Sports Awards, which will be staged in Shanghai on April 15. The Laureus World Sports Awards is recognised as the premier honours event in the international sporting calendar and the Nominees for the Awards will be announced at the China Art Museum tomorrow (February 11).

The 16th Laureus World Sports Awards, which recognise sporting achievement during the calendar year 2014, is the premier honours event on the international sporting calendar. The winners, as voted by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury, made up of 50 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time, will be unveiled at a globally televised Awards Ceremony staged in the Shanghai Grand Theatre on Wednesday, April 15. Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

Among the sporting greats who have previously been named as winners of Laureus Awards over the last 15 years have been Usain Bolt, Sebastian Coe, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Alex Ferguson, Lewis Hamilton, Kelly Holmes, Yao Ming, Rafael Nadal, Pelé, Steve Redgrave, Ronaldo, Michael Schumacher, Kelly Slater, Shaun White, Serena Williams, Liu Xiang and Zinedine Zidane.
Guests who have attended previous Awards Ceremonies in the past have included His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain, HSH Prince Albert of Monaco, David and Victoria Beckham, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sean Connery, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Morgan Freeman, Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey. —- Laureus

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