Every day, professional athletes face adversity, from challenging opponents to pushing themselves beyond their limits.
Sports not only provide entertainment value, but also demonstrate physical beauty and reveal the intense mental agility needed to succeed in a competitive environment. Athletes have the unique ability to get up and try again, even when all seems lost.
We speak with athletes, from very different disciplines, who are making an impact and motivating others to take action. That’s this week on Full Frame: Athletes Who Inspire.
Pau Gasol: Empowering Young People
Pau Gasol is an Olympian and All-Star NBA player. Originally from Spain, Pau now plays for the Chicago Bulls. But, it’s his heart that separates him from so many other professional athletes. While playing for the Los Angeles Lakers for six-and-a-half seasons, Gasol made an extensive philanthropic impact in the city, which included visits to the city’s children’s hospital.
Pau has also made an impact on a global level. Since 2003, he’s been a UNICEF ambassador where he’s traveled the world to bring attention to the plight of vulnerable young people dealing with some of life’s greatest adversities. In his mission to promote child survival and development programs around the globe, he has visited South Africa, Angola, Chad, Ethiopia and Syrian refugee camps in Iraq.
In 2013, Pau, along with his NBA-playing brother Marc, created the Gasol Foundation. It’s dedicated to empowering young people to live healthier lives by increasing physical activity.
He also raised $24,000 for UNICEF’s fundraising efforts supporting victims in the Philippines who were devastated by the 2013 Super Typhoon Haiyan. He pledged a thousand dollars for every point he scored in a basketball game.
Mike Walter visits Pau Gasol at the Chicago Bulls training facility to find out what drives this inspirational athlete’s compassion and humility.
Follow Pau on Twitter: @PauGasol
Nomadic Climber & Environmental Preservationist: Alex Honnold
Alex Honnold is one of the best rock climbers on earth. What makes this gifted athlete so rare is that he often climbs some of the tallest cliffs with no rope to protect him if he falls.
When he’s not defying gravity in record-setting time, he’s devoted to the work of his foundation, an environmental non-profit with the simple motto: “Do more, better”. The Honnold Foundation supports various innovative projects that offer simple, sustainable and environmentally-responsible solutions for improving lives around the world.
And while the professional climber, with numerous high-profile sponsors, could afford to buy a home, he prefers to maintain a simple living, traveling the country in his custom-outfitted van in search of the next great vertical adventure.
Alex Honnold joins Mike Walter in our Los Angeles studio to offer a glimpse into his gravity-defying feats that make Mike a little more than nervous.
Follow Alex on Twitter: @AlexHonnold
Olympian and Human Rights Activist: Greg Louganis
Decades ago, American Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis set records that have yet to be broken. Despite all his professional accomplishments, the iconic athlete and activist faced countless challenges in his personal life.
He battled depression, overcame bullying and was diagnosed with HIV. Through it all, he has used his stature as a sports hero to fight bigotry and has become an outspoken advocate for human rights.
Louganis is the subject of a new documentary that debuted this month and he says by sharing his stories – and finding his own inner peace – he has helped shift the way many view people living with HIV; a transformation that would have been hard to imagine when he was first diagnosed back in 1988. Now, after 20 years of being absent from the sport, Louganis is poised to influence the next generation of diving champions as a mentor to the USA Diving National Team.
Mike Walter sits down with Greg Louganis in our Los Angeles studio to discuss his legendary career and his courage in living a life with purpose.
Follow Greg on Twitter: @GregLouganis
For the Love of the Sea, Surfing and Sculpting: Vince Broglio
While vacationing in Hawaii in the 1970’s, Vince Broglio fell in love with surfing. Since then, he’s surfed all around the world. He owns a successful surfboard fiber-glassing business in Santa Cruz, California – one of surf culture’s epicenters. In 2005, he started recycling resin and fiberglass materials from his workbench into masterful works of art. Boglio’s art celebrates the fluidity, tranquility and power of the ocean. And, like the waves, each sculpture is one of a kind. On this week’s Close Up, Full Frame turns its lens on the California surf scene and its many sources of artistic inspiration.
Tune into Full Frame on CCTV America at 7:00 pm ET on August 15, 2015.