Sports Envoy
Sports Envoy Program

Evan Lysacek

Figure Skating

Served as envoy

  • 2012  –  Sweden
  • 2012  –  Belarus
  • 2014  –  Russia
  • 2020  –  Japan
  • 2020  –  Malaysia
  • 2020  –  Singapore

Following his figure skating Gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, Lysacek was chosen as the 2010 United States Olympic Committee’s SportsMan of the Year, and the winner of the James E. Sullivan Award as the top U.S. amateur athlete of 2010. On January 22, 2016, he was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame. Evan Lysacek is the last American male figure skater to win an individual Olympic medal. He was a Sports Envoy in Belarus and Sweden in 2012 and Russia in 2014.

“With these adults, with young kids, with people who have nothing to do with skating whatsoever… our common language is sports and it transcends differences in language and differences in culture.” “I really feel like they absorbed the on-ice skills that I was trying to teach,” he said. “But also, I think they absorbed the message from what we were talking about a little bit and how that can help them if they continue skating, whatever skating will mean in their life, but it will also help them in everything that they do.”

Lia Neal

Swimming

Served as envoy

  • 2017  –  China
  • 2017  –  Hong Kong
  • 2017  –  Singapore

Lia Neal was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 13, 1995. She is of African-American and Chinese-American descent — Neal’s father, Rome, is African-American and her mother, Siu, is Chinese-American. Thanks to her mother, Neal is fluent in Cantonese. Neal began swimming at the age of 6 and two years later, she joined New York City’s Asphalt Green Swim Team and was soon awarded a Swim for the Future scholarship. The Swim for the Future scholarship was started in 2001 in memory of Asphalt Green masters swimmers Doug Irgang and Andrew Fisher who tragically died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. According to Asphalt Green’s website, the scholarship has allowed the New York City-based swim team to become the most diverse team in the United States.

As the second African-American female to make a US Olympic swim team, Lia is committed to bringing more diversity to the sport. She is part of USA Swimming’s Make a Splash initiative, inspiring kids to swim via Swim Brooklyn.

As one of the most coveted high school recruits, Neal chose to make the cross-country move to swim for Stanford University. Coach Greg Meehan dedicated the success the Stanford women’s team had starting in 2014, in part, to Lia deciding to give Stanford, and himself as a coach, a chance. It didn’t take long for Lia to make her mark as a cardinal. At the 2014 NCAA’s, Neal finished 10th in the 50 free, second in the 100 free, and ninth in the 200 free individually. She gained her first NCAA Champion status as a member of the winning 400 medley relay and 400 free relay, and finished third on the 800 free relay and ninth on the 200 medley relay.

Neal excelled as an age group swimmer, competing at the 2008 US Olympic Trials in the 100 free at

the age of 13. She had qualified for those Olympic Trials when she had broken the 11-12 national age-group record in the 100 free.

She debuted on the international scene in 2010 at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Maui, Hawaii. Neal won gold medals as part of the 400 free, 800 free, and 400 medley relays. She also took home a silver medal in 100 free and a bronze medal in the 50 free.

At the 2011 World Junior Championships in Lima, Peru, Neal was a gold medalist in the 100 free and a silver medalist in the 50 free. She also helped Team USA again to relay golds in the 4x100m and 4x200m free relays, and silver in the 4x100m medley relay.

Michelle Kwan

Figure Skating

Served as envoy

  • 2007  –  China
  • 2007  –  Russia
  • 2008  –  Argentina
  • 2009  –  Ukraine
  • 2010  –  South Korea
  • 2011  –  Singapore

Michelle Kwan has had a distinguished career in public service, diplomacy, and sports. She is the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history, having won 43 championships, including five world championships, nine national titles, and two Olympic medals. She became the first Public Diplomacy Envoy in 2006 and for a decade, traveled extensively on behalf of the U.S. Department of State to engage youth around the world on social and educational issues. Kwan currently serves as the Treasurer and Board Member of Special Olympics International.

After she earned a B.A. from the University of Denver with a focus on international relations and a M.A. from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, she became a Senior Advisor at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. In addition, she served as an Advisor to the Office of Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State, where she assisted with the U.S.-China Women’s Leadership Exchange and Dialogue. She was also a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and Council on Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports initiative at the U.S. Department of State.