2016 Jury Member

The Rolex Awards for Enterprise

Location: Norway

Johann Olav Koss
Norway

Four-time Olympic gold medallist and an internationally recognized social entrepreneur, Johann Olav Koss has drawn on the skills and determination that made him one of the world’s greatest athletes to create Right To Play International, a non-governmental, humanitarian organization that uses sport and play as a tool for the development of children and youth in the most disadvantaged areas around the globe. The Norwegian-born, former world-champion speed-skater now living in Canada is President and CEO of the NGO (founded in 2000 as Olympic Aid), which today operates in more than 20 countries, maintains a 600-strong staff and reaches over one million children each week with the help of 14,400 volunteer coaches and 300 athlete ambassadors. Although as a child Koss showed little promise as a skater, he was passionate about training and, in addition to his success at the Olympics, eventually broke 10 world records and won numerous World Cups and national championships. Following his headline-making, three-gold medal win at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics, Koss retired from competition and began pursuing the humanitarian causes that, in 1994, helped him secure the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Award, the Jesse Owens Award and the Jackie Robinson Humanitarian Award, among others. That same year, he was also named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. In 1999, Koss was elected to the International Olympic Committee, a position he held until 2002. His more recent awards include the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Special Citation (2012); the Lego Prize, and the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership, both in 2013. He has been named “One of 100 Future Leaders of the World” by Time magazine and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Koss has an undergraduate medical degree from the University of Queensland in Australia and an Executive MBA from the University of Toronto.

Other 2016 Jury Members