Sports Envoy
Sports Envoy Program

Dean Karnazes

Running

Served as envoy

  • 2016  –  Kyrgyzstan
  • 2016  –  Kazakhstan
  • 2016  –  Uzbekistan
  • 2018  –  Peru

TIME magazine named him one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World.” Men’s Fitness hailed him as one of the fittest men on the planet. Stan Lee, of Marvel Comics fame, called him, “A real superhuman.” An acclaimed endurance athlete and NY Times bestselling author, Dean Karnazes has pushed his body and mind to inconceivable limits. Among his many accomplishments, he has run 50 marathons, in all 50 US states, in 50 consecutive days, he’s run 350 continuous miles, foregoing sleep for three nights. He’s run across the Sahara Desert in 120-degree temperatures, and he’s run a marathon to the South Pole in negative 40 degrees. On ten separate occasions he’s run a 200-mile relay race solo, racing alongside teams of twelve. His long list of competitive achievements include winning the World’s Toughest Footrace, the Badwater Ultramarathon, running 135 miles nonstop across Death Valley during the middle of summer. He has raced and competed on all seven continents of the planet, twice over.

Dean is an ESPN ESPY winner, a 3-time recipient of Competitor magazines Endurance Athlete of the Year award and serves as a US Athlete Ambassador. He’s twice carried the Olympic Torch and in 2019 received the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dean and his incredible adventures have been featured on The Today Show, 60 Minutes, The Late Show with David Letterman, CBS News, CNN, ESPN, The Howard Stern Show, NPR’s Morning Edition, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, the BBC, and many others. He has appeared on the cover of Runner’s World, Outside, and Wired magazine’s, and has been featured in TIME, Newsweek, People, GQ, The New York Times, USA TODAY, The Washington Post, Men’s Journal, Forbes, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, and the London Telegraph, to mention a few.

Yet, it is his unique ability to enthuse athletes of all abilities and backgrounds that truly set Dean apart. Despite his many accomplishments, awards and distinctions, he remains most proud of his ongoing contributions of time and funding to programs aimed at getting children and youth outdoors and active. He has raised millions of dollars for charity and was awarded the prestigious Community Leadership Award by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports.

Beyond being a celebrated endurance athlete, philanthropist, and bestselling author, Dean is an accomplished businessman with a notable professional career working for several Fortune 500 companies and startups alike. A graduate of the USF McLaren School of Business & Management, he is uniquely able to demonstrate how the lessons learned from athletics can be applied to business, and he is able to convey, with authenticity, the many insights he has gleaned along the way as a record-setting athlete and professional businessman.

Dean is a sought after speaker who has captivated and inspired audiences across the globe with his stories of persistence and perseverance. His dynamic, engaging and rousing presentations focus on going beyond perceived limitations to be the best that you can be. He talks about unlocking an inner strength to achieve extraordinary results. His real-life examples explore the topics of: dealing with adversity, overcoming obstacles, setting and reaching lofty goals, the importance of teamwork, even in solo endeavors, and excelling in a competitive, and often confusing, world. In his presentations, he examines and discusses the essential ingredients necessary for high-achievement and developing the ability to prevail and preserve against staggering odds.

Dean is believable, because his achievements and accomplishments are real. He delivers his message with the insight and candor that only an individual who has lived through such experiences can. Dean’s stories of endurance and perseverance are often comical, sometimes tear-jerking, and always thought-provoking and entertaining. His roster of clients include: Nike, Google, Sony, PepsiCo, Wells Fargo, Apple Computer, Merck, Toyota, Starbucks, Accenture, Stanford University, Yale, JP Morgan Chase, Amazon, Facebook, and a host of others.

Staci Wilson

Soccer

Served as envoy

  • 2014  –  Peru
  • 2016  –  Senegal
  • 2018  –  Niger
  • 2019  –  Nigeria
  • 2019  –  Ethiopia

Staci Wilson – former professional soccer player with extensive experience training athletes, teams and coaches. An NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach, she holds a US Soccer B Coaching License, and has teaching certifications in yoga and Pilates. She played professional soccer for the Carolina Courage and on the 1996 USWNT that won the first ever Olympic Gold Medal for Women’s Football. Currently Wilson coaches youth, high school in south Florida and has a soccer consulting business. She devotes free time to giving back to the sport through charitable organizations that target females and underserved communities.

Kate Sobrero Markgraf

Soccer

Served as envoy

  • 2012  –  Ethiopia
  • 2013  –  Chile
  • 2014  –  Peru

Defender Kate Markgraf (née Sobrero) debuted with the U.S. Women’s National Team in 1998 and earned 201 caps before retiring in 2010. Markgraf was a member of the U.S. Women’s National Teams in the 2008, 2004 and 2000 Olympic Games, playing every minute of all three tournaments. Markgraf also helped to lead the team from the backline at the 2007, 2003 and 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cups.

After becoming the only player to play every minute of every U.S. Women’s National Team game in 2005, she had her first child, Keegan, in 2006. In 2009, she once again took time off from soccer, giving birth to twins, a boy and a girl, Xavier and Carson.

Markgraf was a four-year starter at Notre Dame, where she was a three time NSCAA All American, earning First Team honors twice and winning the 1995 NCAA championship.

Allocated to the Chicago Red Stars for the inaugural WPS season in 2009, Markgraf sat out the year as she was pregnant with twins. She was a founding player in the WUSA for the Boston Breakers and in 2003 she started all 19 games in which she played, helping the Breakers to the playoffs for the first time.