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• Published on 31 Jul. 2015 • Category :Sport • Tags : 2015


Powered by: Linda Cohn, Host, SportsCenter, ESPN, United States


Abby Wambach, World Cup Champion, US Women’s National Team, United States

Michel Combes, CEO, Alcatel-Lucent, France

Tracey Russell, CEO, LA Marathon, United States

Sports’ ability to break down barriers and bring about change remains an astonishingly powerful tool.

It can transcend race, religion, gender and social background – but even more can be done to help sports bring about change where it is most needed.

That was the message from Doha Goals 2015’s opening plenary session, which was moderated by renowned ESPN SportsCentre host Linda Cohn.

World Cup champion Abby Wambach kicked off the discussion by citing the impact of the Women’s World Cup across America.

Both men’s and women’s soccer is proving to be a phenomenal success in the US – Wambach described it as the sport with the most potential in the entire country.

And the two-time Olympic gold medalist hopes to harness that energy to bring about change on a range of issues - such as the financial gender-gap, to sexism in sport.

“I am a bigger picture veteran,” said Wambach. “So I want to leave the game better than when I found it.”

Wambach was not the only one trying to use sport as a vehicle for change. Michel Combes, CEO at Alcatel-Lucent, emphasized his belief that sport could alter much more than just one person.

“You can use sport in order to transform an organization – whether that is a company or a country,” he said. “Sport can be at the heart of a transformation journey.”

Tracey Russell, CEO of LA Marathon, discussed the impact sport can have among young people.

Russell mentioned the 56,000 middle and high school pupils who have completed the LA Marathon over the last 26 years thanks to her Students Run LA scheme, and running’s ability to transcend both ethnicity and social background.

But she also urged encouragement for youngsters to ensure that they could fulfil their potential. 

“When meeting younger people finding their way, I tell them to be willing to walk through any door because you never know when it will lead to the next door opening,” she said.

The impact sports can have in changing things for the better rarely fails to amaze, but the panelists were in unanimous agreement that they must keep pushing pre-existing boundaries to make sure that gift is not lost. 


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