2003 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"The true heroes of the world are those who find a way to overcome adversity to achieve success in a way that helps themselves, their families, and society."
The first recipient of the Horatio Alger International Award, Wayne Gretzky serves as a role model of outstanding character who is committed to helping others. A native of Brantford, Ontario, Canada, Gretzky began playing hockey almost as soon as he could walk. He holds 61 National Hockey League records, was named by ESPN as the fifth greatest athlete of the 20th century, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999. He assembled the team that won Canada's first hockey gold medal in 50 years at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Gretzky is an honorary member of the Board of Trustees of Right to Play, an international humanitarian organization, and is the recipient of the Olympic Order and the Order of Canada. He and his wife Janet started the Wayne Gretzky Foundation, which helps disadvantaged youngsters participate in hockey.