It's no secret that sport helps to keep us fit.
But the assertion that sport may also have the power to change the world may seem a little too far-fetched for many people. Nevertheless, when Nelson Mandela said just that when he uttered the now famous words “Sport has the power to change the world,” at the first Laureus World Sports Awards ceremony back in 2000, he knew exactly what he was talking about. Three words in particular stood out in his speech: change, inspire, unite. And it’s precisely these words that, for me, define what our Laureus activities are all about. Change as the objective, inspiration as the enabler and coming together as the stimulus. It was clear to Mandela that in this world there is really only sport that functions as an essentially positive platform which is able to unite people as powerfully as it does – regardless of gender, origin, religion or class. You only have to think back to the last three World Cups in football – in Germany, South Africa and Brazil. I’m sure that, like me, you will recall many moments of great emotion, and will be able to relate to the feeling that – particularly in recent years – the big sporting events have strengthened the ties between the people and the cultures of this world.
My own sporting highlight was very definitely the almost surreal World Cup semi-final between Germany and Brazil in the summer of 2014. At the time I was with my Daimler colleagues in China and we watched the match together at 5 o'clock in the morning in a hotel lobby. The atmosphere was almost impossible to describe; and the many emotional, but at the same time heart-warming scenes between the Brazilian and the German fans left a lasting impression on me. What sporting moments do you recall with affection?