Breaking through the Barriers

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Some thirty years ago, whilst living in New York City, I had a black friend who was a true sports superstar. He was constantly mobbed for autographs. I noticed that he took extra care giving signed posters to white kids. I asked him about the apparent favouritism. His answer: “Johann, if a white kid has my poster in his bedroom, he can hardly discriminate against the black kid in his class”. How true.

Ever since then we have strived to create and promote cross-cultural heroes. In South Africa we helped start Institutes and Sports Academies to promote sporting excellence. As a South African I have also witnessed first hand the profound role that sport can play in nation-building and reconciliation. When democratic South Africa was accepted into international sport over a decade ago many believed it would take years for us to be integrated. Since then we have confounded the critics, won major championships and hosted others. It is this same belief that led me to propose that Richemont help found Laureus and the Laureus Sport for Good.

Laureus Sport for Good Foundation believes that sport can change the way people look at the world. The true values of sport can bring together families, friends, nations – and on occasions, the whole world – in a way that no other human activity can.

Laureus’ passion is based on a simple truth: whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever your background; sport can give you the chance to be a better person tomorrow than you are today.

In a world of increasing tension between cultures and religions, we believe that sporting heroes can bridge the gap that other leaders of society are either unable or unwilling to do.

We believe that sport can help change the world. Sport represents the best humanity: determination, fellowship, teamwork and the pursuit of excellence.

This is a powerful message – one which I hope I can count on you for your support, playing your part to help change the world.

Johann Rupert
Executive Chairman
Compagnie Financiere Richemont SA

We believe in Sport for Good.


Whether it’s in the Olympics, Soccer World Cup or Super Bowl – on the playing field everyone is equal. The German national soccer team is a prime example. On our 2010 World Cup squad we had players with roots in nine different countries: Poland, Ghana, Nigeria, Tunisia, Spain, Brazil, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Turkey and, of course, Germany. The entire country cheered its “international team” on – regardless of the players’ skin color, religion or origin.

That shows a common goal unites. I’ve experienced the same at Daimler. When it comes down to it, building cars is also a team sport. Our Mercedes star team is made up of colleagues from more than140 countries. Team spirit, mutual respect and fair play are equally key to our success.

Sport promotes these qualities: That is why the “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation” and Daimler are a perfect match. Laureus brought the integrative power of sports to bear for more than ten years. As co-founders we’re proud to work together with 100-plus prominent Laureus Ambassadors and have supported more than 1.5 million children and youths with difficult backgrounds. Laureus projects help these young people discover their talents, develop attributes such as discipline and determination, and find their place in life. That opens up new opportunities for them in sports and far beyond.

That’s why we look forward to continuing our support!

Dr. Dieter Zetsche

Chairman of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars