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Video: Star athletes using sports for good

April 6, 2011 |  3:41 pm

Many sports figures make enough money to feed small countries and they often act as though they rule them, so, at times, it can be hard to remember what sports are really about.

But 48 star athletes haven't forgotten.

Marcus Allen (pro football Hall of Famer), Edwin Moses (gold medal-winning hurdler), Tony Hawk (legendary skateboarder), Mark Spitz (gold medal-winning swimmer) and Nadia Comaneci (gold medal-winning gymnast) are among a group of athletes who donate their time to the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, a London-based group that has backed more than 80 programs that help facilitate sports as a means for social change with disadvantaged youths. 

The organization has raised more than $50 million and helped more than 1 million children in 40 countries. Programs have included joint basketball games for members of the Crips and Bloods in Virginia and soccer games for youths in the slums of Sierra Leone.

According to a recent study commissioned by Laureus, for every $1.41 invested in youth sports projects, the cost that is typically paid for police, courts and victims gets reduced by $10.

As onetime South Africa President Nelson Mandela once said, "Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to unite in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination."

-- Melissa Rohlin