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No one less than Franz Beckenbauer once described him: "You can awake Olaf anytime at night and tell him it's penalty shootout and he will score". This was said after Olaf Thon scored the decisive goal for his German team during the penalty shootout of the 1990 FIFA World Cup semi-final against England, securing his team the way to the final. "This determination, his striving for success and his great popularity around Schalke and far beyond brought me to asking Olaf Thon to become our Official Ambassador of the 2010 IIHF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP and very specially for our grand opening game in Schalke", expressed Uwe Harnos, President of the Organizing Committee of the 2010 IIHF WM.
Olaf Thon accepted and was appointed as Official Ambassador by OC President Uwe Harnos on today's December 15, 2008 during a press conference for the announcement of the 2010 IIHF WM Opening Game in the Veltins-Arena of Schalke."
I am very pleased that I may officially represent the 2010 IIHF WM and the opening game here at Schalke. Ice Hockey is a great sport and it is an absolutely fascinating vision that here in the Veltins-Arena 76.000 spectators will cheer for the German Team and one of the world's great national Ice Hockey Teams. This is a one-time opportunity which nobody should miss and I will help to make everyone know of it", comments Olaf Thon on his new role.
As a footballer, Olaf Thon played 52 international games for Germany and he became a World Champion with the team in Italy 1990. At his debut against Malta in 1984 at the age of 18, he was the second youngest international player in German football history. In the Bundesliga he played for FC Schalke 04 as well as for FC Bayern Munich. He was a three-time German Champion (with FC Bayern), a three-time runner-up (twice Bayern, once Schalke) as well as a UEFA Cup Champion and twice a German Cup Winner with FC Schalke 04. Today, Olaf Thon is working in the marketing for FC Schalke 04 and as a consultant for the board.
Next to Olaf Thon, the team of Official 2010 IIHF World Championship Ambassadors already consists of "German Ice Hockey Player of the Century" Erich Kühnhackl as well as of football international player Philipp Lahm. In total, the Organizing Committee will name an exclusive circle of ten ambassadors from different areas of sports and society.
The 2010 IIHF World Championship takes places between May 7 and May 23, 2010 in the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, the SAP Arena in Mannheim and the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen. The Organizing Committee headed by President Uwe Harnos and General Secretary Franz Reindl, is awaiting 500.000 spectators at 56 World Championship games of the world's 16 best Ice Hockey nations. App. 1.000 accredited journalists as well as around 190 involved TV stations will broadcast from Germany into more than 100 countries. Some 800 million viewers worldwide will follow the 2010 IIHF World Championship on TV.