Olympic Champion Swimmer Ian Thorpe Confirmed to Speak Live at December's Doha GOALS Forum

Oct 21, 2012, 02:00 ET from Doha GOALS

LONDON, October 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

'Thorpedo' will join a strong panel of industry leaders and sporting champions to debate whether we are doing enough to protect athletes

Five-time Olympic gold medallist Ian Thorpe will join a panel of top sportsmen and women at the Doha GOALS Forum on December 10-12 to discuss whether federations and organisations are doing enough to protect athletes.

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The panel, which will discuss how young athletes can be nurtured to play a role in their own careers through media training and business awareness, will also address how to help retired sportsmen retrain in new careers. Thorpe will be joined by: leading sports agent Phil de Picciotto; Travis Tygart, president of the US Anti Doping Agency; and Jonathan Edwards, world record holder in the triple jump and a board member for the London 2012 organising committee.

Doha GOALS - Gathering of All Leaders In Sport - is a new initiative designed as a "Call to Action" for the role that sport plays as a driver for social and economic change. It was created under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, and was launched during the Olympics.

Thorpe, who also won 13 gold medals in World Championships, was an analyst for the BBC during this summer's Olympics, impressing audiences with his candid responses. He said: "I'm honoured to get the chance to speak at the Doha GOALS Forum. I was in London for the launch of the event in August and it was great to hear those involved speak so passionately about how effective sport can be as a tool for change.

"As a 15-year-old, I was in the spotlight and was lucky enough to have a strong support system. That isn't always the case. Governing bodies and sporting associations need to work together to support young athletes - whether they are world-beaters or not - to ensure each one has the people they need around them who can help.

"This summer, with the weight of the expectation of the host country, I was amazed at how well British competitors handled the pressure. When the Olympics were held in Sydney, I really battled with the expectations, and I was only 17. There is such huge relief when you deliver, and you rely on a network of family and friends to keep you balanced, when things are going well - or badly."

Thorpe is also highly involved in the running of his foundation, Ian Thorpe's Fountain for Youth, which acts as an advocate for the needs of poor and disadvantaged indigenous children in Australia.

Doha GOALS is building a community of hundreds of key influencers from all areas who believe that sport is a crucial vehicle for nation building and development. Most importantly, the forum is designed to deliver tangible action items, such as the launching of a Global Student Ambassador programme for youth leaders from all around the world, and a global NGO to help underprivileged children.

Thorpe joins a list of sporting legends already set to speak at the event that includes multi-Olympic gold medallist athlete Carl Lewis; multiple Paralympic gold medallist Oscar Pistorius; London 2012 chairman and two-time Olympic gold medallist Lord Coe, rugby World Cup-winning captain Francois Pienaar and multiple Olympic gold medallist swimmer Mark Spitz.

Participants from more than 45 countries have already registered to be a part of the inaugural Forum.

The Doha GOALS initiative, from the Aspire Zone Foundation and Richard Attias & Associates, will bring together a community of policymakers and government officials, heads of business, athletes, NGOs and students to build a roadmap for addressing social challenges through sport.

Sheikh Faisal Al Thani, Executive Director of Doha GOALS, said: "Ian has been one of the best-known names in sport for a decade and a half. He brings those years of experience as well as an active interest in helping communities through sport - we are delighted to be welcoming him to Doha."

Co-founder Richard Attias said: "I am delighted that Ian is joining us in this call for action. With "Thorpedo" and all the other decision-makers, influencers and inspirational figures together in December, I am convinced that Doha GOALS will leave a unique footprint on the world stage, and that together, we will create lasting initiatives that bring about real change."

The objectives of the Forum were dictated by a taskforce of more than 50 of the leading policymakers, innovators, sports scientists, physicians, federations heads, academics, athletes, corporate executives and competitors who gathered for a Pre-Forum event in January 2012. This group, which included top executives from FC Barcelona, IMG, Coca-Cola, as well as federation heads, and past and present athletes, debated economic development, the commercialisation of sports, the welfare of athletes, and sport as a vehicle for tourism growth.


About Aspire Zone Foundation

Having been established in 2003 as a Sports City project, Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) today works to develop sports champions, promote healthy lifestyles, provide sports medicine services, and galvanise the sports economy of today and of the future. Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) is a pioneering international sport project, thanks to its member organisation which embraces Aspire Academy, Aspetar and Aspire logistics. All these corporate entities were unified by Emiri decree in 2008.

Located in Doha, Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) boasts international-standard services and hosts global sports events; all of which contribute to the vibrant sports economy of Qatar. Aspire Zone is home to some of the world's finest sport amenities and services offering an impressive integration of sport, sports medicine and research, and sport education. It is a perfect setting to combine sport and leisure.

Moreover, AZF was voted the World's Leading Sports Tourism Development Project for the World Travel Awards 2011; an award that is deserved indeed. In 2011 alone, Aspire Zone was honoured with the successful hosting of high profile events, such as the opening ceremony of the AFC Asian Cup 2011, some of the tournament games, and some competitions of the regionally-renowned Arab Games.

About Richard Attias & Associates

Richard Attias & Associates is a strategic communications firm that provides private consultancy and idea initiatives. Our mission is to help leaders, corporations and nations build their global influence, catalyze innovation and lead the global exchange of ideas. Using our strategic and operational expertise, we create interactive platforms, living laboratories of human capital, and historic cultural exchanges that help foster positive change for the global community. 

Some of the work that RAA has created or produced in the last year includes: New York Forum® and New York Forum® AFRICA; APEC CEO Summit in Hawaii; The New York Times Schools for Tomorrow, Energy for Tomorrow and Opportunities for Tomorrow conferences; Global Food Security Forum in Morocco; Global Competitiveness Forum in Saudi Arabia; Qatar - US Business Forum in New York; Conference of Nobel Laureates; and African Securities Exchange Association Summit. 

Richard Attias is a global influencer and was the exclusive producer of the World Economic Forum meetings, including the Davos Forum for 14 years and the co-founder of the Clinton Global Initiative. With offices in New York, Paris, Doha, Rabat and Beijing, the RAA mission is a "call to action" to all global leaders, by creating borderless communities, and facilitating business opportunities for growth recovery through the New York Forum Institute, a not-for-profit Foundation.


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For all other enquiries, email dohagoals@richardattiasassociates.com.  http://www.dohagoals.com