The Power of Sport

The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and IWC Schaffhausen provide support for underprivileged youth around the world.

By Logan R. Baker

Before the Laureus World Sports Awards, a bike race was he’d through the streets of Monaco to raise public awareness for children in need.

Sports have a way of bypassing boundaries, whether crossing physical terrain for multinational competitions or breaking down man-made political barriers. At their best, sports can transcend competition itself and bring together people from various places and backgrounds. It is this principle of action that the Laureus Foundation was originally founded on, based on the work of its first patron, former South African President Nelson Mandela, who knew better than anyone that “Sport has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair.”

The Laureus Foundation was founded in 2000 by Richemont and Daimler. Every year the collective hosts numerous events that bring together world-class athletes and children in need, in hopes of raising money and providing inspiration to disadvantaged youth. In an effort to encourage children around the world, Swiss watch brand IWC Schaffhausen has been a sponsor and fund-raiser for the foundation since it first opened its doors, in 2000. Together they have implemented 150 sports programs in 35 countries in an attempt to increase education, eliminate prejudice, and promote physical activity.

Usain Bolt with his Sportsman of the Year award.

Each year Laureus, IWC, and Mercedes-Benz host the Laureus World Sport Awards, honoring the most successful athletes of the year. This year, the awards returned to Monaco for the first time since its inaugural ceremony. The winners are decided by members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, which include former athletes such as tennis pros Boris Becker and Ilie
Nastase, figure skater Katarina Witt, and golfer Jack Nicklaus. This year they chose to honor Olympic athletes Usain Bolt and Simone Biles as Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, respectively, the Chicago Cubs as Team of the Year, and Formula One race car driver Nico Rosberg as Breakthrough Athlete of the Year. The night was hosted by actor and philanthropist Hugh Laurie.

This year’s ceremony featured a special twist called #SneakersforGood. This social promotion was held in partnership with Sal’s Shoes, a charity that provides shoes to those in need around the world. The participating athletes and guests got the chance to wear sneakers and trainers with their formalwear and tuxedos rather than the traditional dress shoes and high heels. After the night was over, those tennis shoes were collected by Laureus to be auctioned off at a later date to benefit children in need.

Simone Biles with her Sportswoman of the Year award.

Earlier in the day, IWC helped organize a large bike tour through Monaco to raise public awareness and bring about social change in the lives of disadvantaged children. A highlight of the event was the official launch of the Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation” timepiece. As the 11th special-edition wristwatch launched by IWC as part of its commitment to the foundation, its run has been limited to 1,500 pieces, with a portion of the proceeds going to support the foundation’s projects.

The Da Vinci Chronograph Edition “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation” (Ref. IW393402) features newly developed moving horns with curved lugs that ensure the Santoni black alligator leather strap rests perfectly on the wrist. The blue-dial, stainless-steel chronograph utilizes an in-house developed 89361 caliber that holds a 68-hour power reserve and is nicely sized to fit in its 42 mm case. It is water-resistant to 3 bar and also has a flyback function.

At the bike tour before the ceremony.

Through a passion for philanthropy and sport, the Laureus Foundation continues to provide education and physical activity where it’s needed most. “I’ve witnessed for myself the positive energy sport can unleash in many of the Laureus Projects,” explains newly appointed Global CEO of IWC, Christoph Grainger-Herr. “We are proud to support this foundation; it is a cooperation that allows us to bring about lasting changes in the lives of thousands of children and adolescents.”