2008 Time 100 Most Influential Includes Five Athletes

In this year’s Time 100: The World’s Most Influential People, LPGA player Lorena Ochoa, retired tennis star Andre Agassi, sprinter Oscar Pistorious, cycling great Lance Armstrong and soccer star Kaka are featured.

Ochoa: Nancy Lopez writes that “when you meet her for the first time, you experience a remarkable warmth and modesty.” Lopez adds, “Early in her career, Lorena recognized the opportunity to use her fame to improve education and reduce drop-out rates in her country. She first created a self-named foundation and subsequently funded an elementary school called La Barranca in her hometown. The school, which uses music, theater and other non-traditional learning tools to keep students engaged, will soon be joined by an adjacent high school.”

Agassi: Andy Roddick writes: “I was shocked that a person who has set such a high bar for athletic philanthropy still felt like he could do more. But that is Andre. There are most likely plenty of kids at Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy … who have never watched a match of his. I promise you that Andre could not care less. He would rather be viewed as the man who gives them dreams and opportunities.”

Pistorious: Pistorious is trying to qualify for the Beijing Olympic Games despite being an amputee, and Erik Weihenmayer writes that Pistorious is “on the cusp of a paradigm shift in which disability becomes ability, disadvantage becomes advantage. Yet we mustn’t lose sight of what makes an athlete great. … It’s what one does with those gifts, the hours devoted to training, the desire to be the best, that is at the true heart of a champion.”

Armstrong: Elizabeth Edwards writes, “He inspired all of us who face a cancer diagnosis to search out the doctors who believe that we can live, to hold on to those friends and family who stand beside our bed—and then to fight to prove the faith of those friends and the beliefs of those doctors well founded.”

Kaka: Kasey Keller notes that in 2004, Kaka “became the U.N. World Food Program’s youngest ambassador. And he is devoted to his faith. An evangelical Christian, Kaka has talked publicly about becoming a minister when he retires from the game.” Keller: “in an age in which many professional athletes care more about cars, women and controversy, it’s refreshing to see one who is committed to having a positive impact on the world around him” (Time, 5/12 issue).