“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. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.”
Nelson Mandela, who passed away on 5 December 2013 aged 95, said those words at the inaugural Laureus World Sports Award evening in Monte Carlo, 25 May 2000.
Muhammad Ali became in September 2012 the first sportsperson to be awarded the Liberty Medal.
From the citation:
Muhammad Ali is a champion of freedom who embodies everything the award was established to honor: individuals of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe. He has long served as an icon of the American dream—while challenging and expanding the very definition of “We the People.”
More information: constitutioncenter.org/libertymedal/