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More than Sport began with the vision of Chris Lieto, Ironman champion, world record holder in cycling, and 3 time triathlon champion, who wanted to do more with his athletic ability than simply compete. Simply said: Chris founded More Than Sport to provide a way for athletes to invest in communities of need, particularly those we compete in.
We are able to improve the lives of children and communities around the world, when we become athletes who live for more than sport.
The heart of the mission of More than Sport is to do what the name implies: To partner with athletes, who are used to giving their all to what they do, and empower them to give in brand new ways. To give back to and to serve in the communities where we race, ride, and compete. To take the passion and determination, the spirit of the athlete, and partner that with the sometimes-overwhelming material and emotional needs in communities around us.
Using sports as a tool for change, we will:
· Unleash transformation through compassion and justice
· Relieve poverty through meeting practical needs
· Teach and equip people to live healthy lives
· Restore individuals and families through relationship
· Encourage youth through sports activities and camps
It was the day before a big race in Mexico where I was staying in a beautiful all-inclusive resort. As I left my air conditioned room to bike along the coastline course something caught my eye. Only 5 miles from the resort I saw several young children perched in the trees. What I saw next changed my life. I peered in deeper, and just beyond the tall shrubs, lived a family in conditions not fit for any human being. An overwhelming contrast from the safe brick walls that form my home, their house was constructed of flimsy cardboard boxes and scraps of wood. My wheels kept spinning and between the trees I saw snapshots of extreme poverty. There was an entire village of people living on the land, with only the trees to protect them from the blazing hot sun.
As a husband and a father, my heart broke for these people. My mind immediately turned to the thousands back at the resort. Most people simply fly into this beautiful tourist town, spend lots of money, and never see the desperation outside the hotel gates. I realized that not only is this kind of poverty apparent in third world countries, it's happening in the very places we're competing. The grounds we race on belong to a people in need. Instead of ignoring the problem, why not use sports as a vehicle for change? I decided that very moment that I would find a way to bring restoration to those in need, and More Than Sport was born.
Chris Lieto is the fastest American Ironman and one of the top triathletes in the world. His 15 triathlon victories include three Ironman wins, a U.S. Ironman championship, and three top-10 finishes at the World Championship in Hawaii, highlighted by a second-place finish in 2009.
Chris's commitment extends beyond his sport. Husband to Karis and father to two young children, Chris is a devoted family man with a strong faith. He is also a motivated entrepreneur and founder of BASE Performance.
With a reputation as the fastest cyclist in the sport, Chris has challenged many of his fellow athletes to improve their performance. This year, Chris is spearheading More Than Sport and challenging them to compete for a cause.