Johann Olav Koss
SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR, 1994
KOSS WAS HONORED, WITH FELLOW SPEEDSKATER BONNIE BLAIR, FOR WINNING THREE GOLD MEDALS IN LILLEHAMMER AND DONATING HIS BONUS TO THE OLYMPIC AID PROGRAM FOR DISADVANTAGED YOUTH
The $30,000 donation that punctuated Koss's first career can now be seen as a harbinger of his second. After hanging up his skates, he continued his extensive work with Olympic Aid, and in 2000 he founded Right to Play, an organization that implements the sports-based humanitarian efforts that Olympic Aid financially backed. Activities for a few hundred kids in Angola and the Ivory Coast grew into programs in more than 20 countries that benefit more than a million children, who learn about health issues by playing games that act as extended metaphors. As Right to Play's CEO, the Norwegian native (left, with 2006 gold medalist Joey Cheek) travels the world to observe the organization's work. On a recent trip to Rwanda, he saw a 12-year-old boy lead comedic sketches to educate some 200 parents on child abuse; in Uganda, a 14-year-old girl with the highest grades in the country credited her achievement to Right to Play's games-as-education approach. She told Koss she will someday be Uganda's president. "It is tremendous," the 44-year-old Koss says. "When this generation grows up, you will see their impact in the community in ways we cannot even imagine today."
SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR, 1984
SI RECOGNIZED MOSES, WITH GYMNAST MARY LOU RETTON, AFTER HE WON HIS SECOND OLYMPIC GOLD IN THE 400-METER HURDLES AND EXTENDED A WINNING STREAK THAT WOULD REACH 122 RACES
In 2000, Moses, then a financial consultant, joined a handful of other world-famous athletes at a gala called the Laureus World Sports Awards, in Monte Carlo, never expecting to discover the work that would come to define him more than a decade later. "I had no idea what was going on," he recalls. But after learning the mission of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation—to use sports to educate at-risk children and bridge social divides—and hearing it endorsed by guest of honor Nelson Mandela, Moses agreed to serve as its chairman. In the dozen years since, he has helped Laureus grow from an idea ("It was basically a blank piece of paper," Moses says) to an international operation with 104 projects in 34 countries, including a new program that trains youth coaches in five U.S. cities. Among his more rewarding experiences, Moses (left, flanked by Olympic boxing champions Nicola Adams and Anthony Joshua) cites bringing together groups of Protestant and Catholic children in Northern Ireland in '01. "It's been a great, great ride," says Moses, who is also chair of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. "I never thought that I would be doing it, but it doesn't feel like work."