Fabian Cancellara was inducted into the Laureus World Sports Academy on Monday, becoming the first Swiss and the second cyclist to be chosen as a member of the select group of "the greatest living sporting legends".
The double Olympic champion, who recently hung up his wheels after a 16-year professional career, was presented as the newest member - following fellow cyclist Miguel Indurain - by five-time Olympic champion gymnast Nadia Comaneci at an event in Zurich, which also celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Laureus Sport for Good foundation.
Since 2009, Cancellara has been an ambassador to Laureus, which aims to harness the power of support to "unite people" and "awaken hope where there was previously only despair", in the words of its first-ever Patron, Nelson Mandela.
"When I was competing I was always looking for things I could do to help. Sport has given me so much, now I want to give something back, to disadvantaged or underprivileged children or children in general," said Cancellara, who has been a Laureus ambassador since 2009.
"Sport to me is the school of life. It teaches you how to win and how to lose, respect, discipline, humility and kindness. That’s why Laureus Sport for Good is the perfect match for me, as it is using sport to end discrimination and disadvantage. After my involvement as an Ambassador, I’m ready to get more involved and help where I can in the future."
Cancellara was praised at the event for his 'aggressive style', 'refusal to give in', and 'unselfishness'. The 35-year-old claimed gold in the time trial at the Olympic Games in August - as he had done in 2008 - marking the perfect end to a career that has included four world time trial titles, three victories at both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, and eight stage wins and 29 days in yellow at the Tour de France.
"Fabian is a great Swiss sporting hero, so this is absolutely the perfect place to introduce him as a new member of the Laureus World Sports Academy," said Comaneci in Zurich.
"His achievements over the years have made him a massive international figure and it is a great pleasure for me to welcome him into the Laureus Family. Even before he became an Academy Member, he has been very active on behalf of Laureus Sport for Good and I am looking forward to working with him in the future to help young people."
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