The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has named Olympic gold medalist figure skater Evan Lysacek as a Sports Envoy. On his inaugural trip done in partnership with U.S. Figure Skating, Lysacek will travel to Stockholm, Sweden and Minsk, Belarus April 6 – 13.
While in Sweden, Lysacek will hold ice skating clinics with youth from the Stockholm area, organized in cooperation with the non-governmental organization Sports Without Borders. In Minsk, from April 11 - 13, Lysacek will conduct clinics with the Skating Union of Belarus and speak with students of the University of Physical Culture about the importance of sports in society. He will also attend a competition for wheelchair fencers and wheelchair dancers.
Mr. Lysacek won the gold medal in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games and was named the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Sportsman of the Year in 2010. In 2010, he also won the Amateur Athletic Union’s Sullivan Award, given to the most outstanding U.S. amateur athlete of the year based on athletic accomplishments, leadership skills, character and sportsmanship.
Sports diplomacy builds on Secretary Clinton’s vision of “smart power” diplomacy, which embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools, including sports, to bring people together for greater understanding.
Sports Envoys are current and retired professional athletes and coaches from a range of sports that travel overseas to conduct clinics and team building activities, as well as engage youth in a dialogue on the importance of education, positive health practices and respect for diversity. The U.S. Department of State’s sports diplomacy division, SportsUnited, works in close partnership with professional sports leagues, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and respective National Governing Bodies so that American athletes may engage overseas youth in positive dialogue. SportsUnited is the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ division devoted to sports diplomacy programs at the U.S. Department of State. Since 2003, SportsUnited has brought more than 900 athletes from 58 countries to the U.S. to participate in Sports Visitor programs. Since 2005, SportsUnited has sent more than 200 U.S. athletes to over 50 countries to participate in Sports Envoy programs.
For more information on sports diplomacy, please visit http://exchanges.state.gov/sports/index.html or contact: Marthena Cowart, U.S. Department of State, at cowartMS@state.gov; in Minsk, Carrie Lee at leeCK2@state.gov; in Stockholm, Danielle Harms at harmsDA@state.gov.