April 25, 2007 -- A group of 12 athletes -- the ultimate superstars -- who have rewritten the record books in their own sports are now passing that passion for excellence on to the rest of the country. But the prize is bigger than any medal or any ring. This prize, and the formation of the new charity Athletes for Hope, is about making the world a better place.
It started with soccer superstar Mia Hamm, tennis great Andre Agassi and cycling legend Lance Armstrong. The long-established champions of giving back decided to reach out to their fellow athletes to see if together they could do even more.
Now they have assembled a dream team of philanthropy that includes gravity-defying skateboarder Tony Hawk, explosive running back Warrick Dunn, racing king Jeff Gordon, Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, former tennis phenom Andrea Jaegger and boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
Individually these athletes have raised more than $500 million to aid at-risk kids, build schools, help the sick and provide homes and safe places for children to play.
Together these elite athletes are combining forces with no less a goal than to change the world.
Agassi, Armstrong, Dunn, Gordon, Hawk, Jaeger, Joyner-Kersee and Ali appeared on "Good Morning America" on Wednesday morning to make the announcement.
"Over the years we've helped each other with our particular passions ... We can accomplish a whole lot more collectively," Agassi said on "GMA." "The thing we want to do is what really matters ... One thing hope stands for is for caring."
According to Armstrong, the impact of athletes is undeniable.
"The reality is that athletes have a lot of power," Armstrong said. "We have the ability as entertainers to make an impact on the world ... We want to encourage our fellow athletes to think philanthropically ... and if they don't quite know where to go we can partner them up with someone that needs their help."