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.”

Sue Wicks


Served as envoy

  • 2009  –  Philippines
  • 2010  –  Indonesia
  • 2011  –  Dominican Republic
  • 2013  –  Malaysia
  • 2016  –  Cambodia
  • 2017  –  Jordan

Sue Wicks was a first-round selection by the New York Liberty in the WNBA’s inaugural draft in 1997. Wicks went on to play six seasons with the Liberty, earning an All-Star selection in 2000. She also was the recipient of the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award in 2000. Wicks finished her WNBA career in eighth place all-time in blocked shots.

Wicks played collegiately at Rutgers University, where she was a three-time All-American and the 1988 National Player of the Year. She was inducted into Rutgers’ Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in June 2013.

Cappie Pondexter


Served as envoy

  • 2019  –  Malaysia

Cappie Pondexter is a former NBA player who is known for her play style, quick crossovers, and midrange jumpshot. In 2011, she was voted as one of the Top 15 players in WNBA history.

In high school she was close friends with basketball star Dee Brown and played for John Marshall Metropolitan HS in Chicago where she was named a WBCA All-American. She also took part in the 2001 WBCA HS All-American Game where she scored 16 points and earned MVP. Pondexter attended college at Rutgers University. She led the Scarlet Knights to a 97–22 record and back-to-back Big East Championships in 2005 and 2006.

Cappie was drafted as the 2nd overall pick by Phoenix Mercury in the 2006 WNBA draft. As a rookie, she was picked to the western conference WNBA All-Star team. In 2007, she was named the WNBA Finals’ Most Valuable Player after she averaged 22 points per game. To celebrate the WNBA’s twentieth anniversary in 2016, she was named in the WNBA Top 20@20.

Brian Cardinal


Served as envoy

  • 2013  –  Malaysia

Brian Lee Cardinal (born May 2, 1977 in Tolono, Illinois), nicknamed “The Custodian” or “The Janitor”, is an American professional basketball player who has most recently played for the Dallas Mavericks. Prior to being drafted to the NBA, Cardinal played college basketball at Purdue University. Brian Cardinal attended Unity High School in Tolono, Illinois where he played basketball with his brother, Troy. He led the Rockets to an 86–25 record during his high school career, where he averaged 23.5 points during his Junior year and 24.1 points per game in his Senior year. He scored 40 points in two different games. On April 15, Brian was selected as the Coca-Cola All-American Most Valuable Player, where he scored 24 points and 13 rebounds for the West team.

After graduating from high school, Cardinal attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana to play under head coach Gene Keady and assistant coaches Frank Kendrick and Bruce Weber. Cardinal was redshirted during his Freshman season. During the 1996–97 season, Brian averaged 10.6 points a game and grabbed 182 rebounds on the season. He recorded his first collegiate double-double in only his second game against Western Michigan with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Along with Juniors Brad Miller and Chad Austin, he helped lead the Boilermakers to an NCAA Tournament Second Round appearance.

Brian was selected as a team captain for his Sophomore season, where he averaged 12 points and grabbed 178 rebounds, while leading Purdue to a 28–8 record. He helped lead the Boilers to a Sweet Sixteen appearance.

Averaging 11.4 points and grabbing 186 rebounds in his Junior season, he scored a career high 33 points in a game against Michigan. Along with teammate Jaraan Cornell, he was named a Third Team All-Big Ten selection and led Purdue to a second straight Sweet Sixteen appearance with a 23–13 record. Cardinal played his last collegiate season with career season highs with 203 rebounds and 13.9 points a game. The Second Team All-Big Ten selection helped lead the Boilermakers to an Elite Eight appearance in 2000 during his Senior year and to a 24–10 record.

Brian Cardinal is second in career starts at Purdue with 125, behind E’Twaun Moore. His career 259 steals at Purdue is the second most in school history behind Chris Kramer’s 260 (2006–2010). His Freshman record with 51 steals in the 1996–97 season was also surpassed by Chris Kramer’s 64 a decade later. He received the nickname, “The Custodian”, due to the way he cleaned the floor diving for loose balls. Brian left Purdue being the only Boilermaker to receive both the “Mr. Hustle” Award and the “Courage” Award four years in a row. On November 28, 2008, ESPN’s Jay Williams compared North Carolina’s Tyler Hansborough to Brian Cardinal’s style of play. While at Purdue, Brian won a Gold Medal at the 1998 Goodwill games; Team USA went 4–1. He was also a member of the 1997 22-and under National Team, which finished 5th in a 12-team field.

Cardinal was selected the 44th overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons. During his rookie season, playing in only 15 games, he had his best game against the Toronto Raptors on April 11, 2001, scoring a season-high 9 points, 4 rebounds and a game high three steals in 18 minutes. Playing in a total of 23 games for the Pistons in two seasons, he averaged 2.1 points a game and shot over 80 percent from the free throw line.

On September 11, 2002, he was traded to the Washington Wizards along with Jerry Stackhouse and Ratko Varda, for Richard Hamilton, Hubert Davis and Bobby Simmons. Cardinal was waived shortly after playing in only five games for the Wizards.

He spent the rest of the 2002–03 season playing in the Spanish league for Pamesa Valencia. He was instrumental in leading Pamesa to the ULEB Cup Championship.

After returning to the NBA, he signed with the Golden State Warriors. Cardinal had a breakthrough season with the Warriors, averaging nearly 10 points and 4 rebounds per game, appearing in 76 games. He was a finalist for the NBA Most Improved Player Award, eventually won by Zach Randolph. On February 11, 2004, Cardinal scored a career high 32 points against the Phoenix Suns and just three weeks later he had his career high of 14 rebounds against the Chicago Bulls on February 28.

After a breakthrough season in personal numbers and playing time, Cardinal signed as a free agent with the Memphis Grizzlies, where he posted similar numbers from the previous season, averaging almost 6 points and 2.5 rebounds in the four seasons with the Grizzlies, while injuries diminished playing time. During the 2006–07 season, Brian held career highs of field goal percentage (.494) and free throw percentage (.926).

In June 2008, Cardinal was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of an eight-player deal. Teamed with fellow forward Kevin Love in his eighth season in the NBA under head coach Kevin McHale and assistant coach Jerry Sichting, a former Boilermaker, Brian averaged 3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists a game for the 2008–09 season. He recorded his career high three blocks in a game against the New York Knicks on March 13, 2009. In the 2009–10 season, while appearing in 27 games for the Wolves, he averaged a team-low 9 minutes per game and went 21–21 from the free-throw line. On February 17, 2010, Cardinal was traded to the New York Knicks for Darko Miličić.[1] He was subsequently waived by the Knicks.[2] On March 23, he was re-signed by the Timberwolves.

On September 27, 2010, Cardinal was signed by the Dallas Mavericks.[3] On May 8, 2011, Cardinal hit the 20th three pointer in Game 4 of the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers series. His three pointer tied the record for most three pointers by a team in one playoff game with 20, which hadn’t been done since the Seattle SuperSonics did it against the Houston Rockets on May 6, 1996. Cardinal won his first NBA championship with the 2011 Mavericks in a six game playoff series against the Miami Heat. He agreed to sign a new one-year contract worth the veteran minimum on December 12

Brian’s father, Rod Cardinal, was the Illini’s head basketball trainer at the University of Illinois for three decades, from 1973 to 2003; he remains with the Illinois men’s basketball team as their special projects coordinator. Brian served as a towel boy for the 1989 Illinois Final Four team. Brian is married to former walk-on Purdue standout, Danielle Bird. The couple is currently involved with donations to the Purdue University athletics, along with former Purdue quarterback, Drew Brees.

Cheryl Jumao-as


Served as envoy

  • 2018  –  Malaysia

Jimmy Cao


Served as envoy

  • 2018  –  Kazakhstan
  • 2018  –  Malaysia

Jimmy Cao has been skateboarding professionally since 2013 and is currently sponsored by SK8MAFIA, OJ Wheels, Independent Trucks, Jessup Griptape, Hard Luck bearings and Slappy’s Garage. He is mostly a street skater and has starring roles in numerous skateboarding videos, including “JSLVX1000” and Sk8Mafia’s “Stee.” Jimmy has often been featured in internationally recognized skateboard magazines such as Thrasher and Transworld. Jimmy frequently travels around the world to engage with local skateboarders and promote the sport, including to Vietnam, China, and all over Europe.

Jimmy lives in San Diego, California and frequently teaches skateboarding at the local YMCA to new and experienced skateboarders alike. When he’s not involved in skateboarding, he enjoys watching and playing futbol (American soccer), hanging out with his fiancé and their son, Mason, who is almost 2 years old.

Cheryl Bailey


Served as envoy

  • 2012  –  Malaysia

Cheryl Bailey is a former executive director of the National Women’s Soccer League as well as the former general manager of the US women’s national soccer team from 2007 to 2011.

Bailey was appointed as the Athletic Director of Denison University until 1990. During her time there, she oversaw 12 women’s sports and was the head women’s soccer coach. For 15 years, she served in the Athletic Administration at the University of Wisconsin, overseeing 22 different teams. In 2007, she was appointed the general manager of the US Women’s National Soccer Team. She led the support staff for the US team during the 2007 and 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cups and the 2008 Olympics.

Danielle Slaton


Served as envoy

  • 2010  –  Paraguay
  • 2012  –  Malaysia
  • 2012  –  Burma
  • 2014  –  Jordan
  • 2021  –  Jordan

Danielle Slaton currently works as the Director of the Coaching for Life Academy at Santa Clara University where she teaches coaches, athletes, and parents about how to integrate life skills development through sports. She is also a sideline reporter for the San Jose Earthquakes and a women’s soccer analyst for NBC, Fox Sports, and the Pac-12 Networks.

Danielle was a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team from 2000-2005, winning a silver medal at the 2000 Olympics and a bronze in the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She attended Santa Clara University where she captained the women’s soccer team to the 2001 NCAA National Championship. After she retired from playing, Danielle coached soccer at Northwestern from 2006-2009, where she also earned her Master’s Degree in Sports Administration.

Danielle is passionate about continuing to grow the game of soccer and teaching life lessons through sports. She serves as an advisor to U.S. Soccer’s Athlete Council, travels as a sports envoy on behalf of the U.S. State Department coaching youth about the life lessons that soccer can teach, and is a certified Positive Coaching Alliance trainer.

Tony Sanneh

Tony Sanneh


Served as envoy

  • 2010  –  Cyprus
  • 2012  –  Ethiopia
  • 2012  –  Malaysia
  • 2014  –  Bangladesh
  • 2014  –  Bolivia
  • 2018  –  Pakistan
  • 2019  –  Kenya
  • 2019  –  Bahrain
  • 2020  –  Virtual
  • 2022  –  Cote d'Ivoire

Among the most successful American soccer players of his generation, Tony Sanneh enjoyed an impressive 17-year professional soccer career. Major career highlights include starring in the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea and Japan, two Major League Soccer championships with D.C. United, and participation in the UEFA Champions League with Hertha Berlin during his six years in the German Bundesliga. Sanneh’s impact on American soccer was recognized by his selection to the Soccer America U.S. Men’s National Team “All-Decade Team,” and he was a finalist for the United States Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2018.

At the height of his playing career, he created The Sanneh Foundation (TSF) to leverage sport’s unique potential to create positive social change for under-served youth through relationships. Since retiring from professional soccer in 2010 and becoming the organization’s full-time CEO, TSF has evolved into one of Minnesota’s leading youth development organizations by serving the holistic youth development needs of increasingly diverse Twin Cities Metro, Central and Southeastern Minnesota.

The Robert Woods Johnson Foundation recently recognized the organization’s work by awarding TSF their annual Sports Award, among the highest honors any organization in the field of health equity and community well-being can receive. The 2018 RWJF Sports award validates The Sanneh Foundation’s approach to creating a culture of community health by leveraging the universal appeal of sports to provide a range of holistic youth programs that address the social determinants that help diverse youth develop the skills to become productive adults

In addition to his executive leadership role with The Sanneh Foundation, Sanneh continues to serve the United States as a Sports Envoy on behalf of the SportsUnited Division of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.