Winners and Nominees
St. Moritz Award for Johann Olav Koss
and José Carreras
The St. Moritz Award 2011 Honour Committee has announced its choice of the two laureates. One is Johann Olav Koss, the former Norwegian speed skater, multiple Olympic medallist and world record holder, and the international organisation founded by him, Right to Play, which helps children all over the world to gain a new outlook on life through play and sport. The other is the famous tenor José Carreras and his José Carreras International Leukemia Foundation, which has dedicated its efforts against this blood disease since the star tenor recovered from it in 1988.
Johann Olav Koss
Johann Olav Koss is one of the winners of the St. Moritz Award 2011. The Organising Committee of the 1994 Winter Olympics originally founded the Right to Play organisation in Lillehammer in 1992, as a purely Norwegian organisation. The speed skater and four-time Olympic winner Johann Olav Koss urged other athletes to make donations. He played a decisive role in internationalising the organisation, which he now serves as President. Right to Play seeks to give every child the right to play. It offers children the opportunity to become members of society, regardless of their gender, disability, ethnic and social background or religion. Right to Play’s programmes of play and sport help children and young people to participate in regular play and sporting activities. Thus they learn social skills such as fair play, respect and tolerance. They live appropriately for children, overcome trauma and experience joy and moments of happiness.
After contracting leukaemia and winning his battle against the disease, José Carreras founded the José Carreras International Leukemia Foundation, in Barcelona. The Foundation now has offices in the USA, Germany, Switzerland and Barcelona. José has vowed not to quit the battle against leukaemia until effective treatment exists for the 300,000 new cases of the disease diagnosed among children, young people and adults every year. The José Carreras Foundation supports medical research and promotes solidarity. It also fosters awareness of the urgency of the fight against leukaemia. “Because of the care and support I received from my doctors and from the public while recuperating, I feel bound to give something back to medical research and to society,” explains José Carreras.