Lorena Ochoa speaks to Women & Golf to tell us exactly why she believes that sport has the power to change the world for good, and how she's using golf to do it.
Once the top-ranked female golfer in the world for a record 158 consecutive weeks, Lorena Ochoa has just become the newest member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, a collection of 66 of the greatest living sporting legends who all believe in Nelson Mandela’s vision that ‘sport has the power to change the world’.
With the eyes of the sporting world on Mexico last week for the Formula One Grand Prix, the Mexican capital was a fitting backdrop to induct Latin America’s best-ever female golfer into the Laureus World Sports Academy.
Lorena joins the 65 current members of the Laureus World Sports Academy as the first representing women’s golf. Academy Members volunteer their time to promote the work of Laureus Sport for Good, which uses the power of sport to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage, proving that sport can change the world. Laureus Sport for Good currently supports more than 150 programmes in over 40 countries.
Talking to Women & Golf, Lorena explained more...
What was your key message for the young people you spent time with today?
I think the most important message for young people is to make sure we communicate or tell as many as we can that sport, or practising any activity, is the most important thing for all the values you learn. Values like being responsible, being a good teammate, being there on time, being disciplined, making sacrifices and thinking about others. I think that's what we're trying to share, give a good message, and make sure that all of them feel happy and healthy. I wish that for many, many little kids and girls around the world.
Nelson Mandela famously said ‘Sport has the power to change the world’ - is this something you believe in?
I think the message, the lesson, it's so powerful, just to be able to change the world through sport is something that, you know, for me, me personally, as an athlete, I believe that 100 per cent. That's what I'm teaching my kids. That's why we get involved in the club, the community, the school because it's really something so special, the connection that you get with others, the friendship, the values, how they now have friends for a lifetime and they help each other in their future, you know, working together, dreaming together. Sport is something very, very special.
In Mexico, golf is growing a lot, it's changing a lot and it's amazing to see that change happen. I feel very honoured, you know, to be able to help in any way.
How does it feel to be a Laureus Academy Member?
To be a Laureus Academy Member is something very special. Thank you, I'm very grateful for you thinking about me, and also Mexico, my country. I feel honoured, and I'm going to continue to work really hard to give a good example and help as many people as we can.
I think having a Foundation, to me, is really the most important thing. I believe that I play golf well because I was very fortunate, and the more I win and the more I play, the more I could help others and help kids in my Foundation.
The Lorena Ochoa Foundation operates a primary school for underprivileged children – how much emphasis does the power of sport have within your Foundation to bring these children together?
I'm in charge of education. I think education is the best way to help kids. For sure, inside the school, we have, you know, always encouraged them to play many sports. We have them jog in the morning, medication, and then they go out to classes and they have basketball, soccer, different activities, judo, taekwondo. I think being good, healthy kids, it's important to play sports, and what's what I try to do at my school, La Barranca. I'm happy to see the kids really change their lives. They have a better future and they are really happy to continue in that direction.
You are clearly passionate and devoted to helping the lives of others – what is your ultimate goal?
I think my ultimate goal is to really make a difference. If you make a difference in one little kid, a girl or a boy, it's already worth it. All the trouble, all the effort, all the sacrifices that we make and trying to get sponsors, for these kids, just a lot of us that's my dream to help many kids. I see them so happy, how they change their attitude and they see life in a different way. They are secure in themselves and they feel comfortable.
They dream about becoming somebody important or to be a professional athlete, and just to help them a little bit and to change their lives and their future, not only for the kids but their families and their relatives and the whole community, is really a special thing to do. And I promise to continue and to work really hard to help as many kids as I can.
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