'Dancing With the Stars' champ Hines Ward hopes to inspire mixed-race children
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver and season 12 "Dancing With The Stars" champ, Hines Ward, was given an honorary Goodwill Ambassadorship to the Republic of Korea, also known as South Korea, from the Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Monday.
Ward was born in Seoul, South Korea to a Korean mother and African-American father in 1976. The 35-year-old football star was voted the MVP of Super Bowl XL, which the Steelers won in 2006.
On the finale of "Dancing With The Stars," Ward and pro-dance partner Kym Johnson beat runners-up Kirstie Alley, who placed second with partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy, and Chelsea Kane and her partner Mark Ballas, who came in third.
"It's a big honor to be here today. It's something I've been doing my whole life," Ward said about becoming a Goodwill Ambassador to the country. "You know, born in Korea, living here in the states my whole life, being able to go back and make an impact on the Korean mixed-race kids over in Korea and not only in Korea, but here in the states."
He adds,"So for me, it's a big honor to be here today. Hopefully I can keep going out there representing the Korean Americans."
According to the Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as a Goodwill Ambassador Ward "will carry out a variety of promotional activities aimed at facilitating development of future-oriented Republic of Korea and United State ties." He will also "help with major events involving any Korean diplomatic mission or Koreans in the United States."
In 2006, Ward helped create the Hines Ward Helping Hands Foundation which helps mixed-race children in South Korea who suffer from discrimination. In the U.S., the foundation focuses on improving literacy in children.
Ward says his mission is "really just to provide a sense of hope for the bi-racial kids so they see somebody positive in our community today and you know, I'm a walking dream for them." He adds, "To see me going out there and having success on the football field, going out there on 'Dancing With The Stars,' hopefully will give those kids [in the Republic of Korea] a sense of hope that they can make it in this world today."
He also talked briefly about the National Football League lockout. Though it is not clear when an agreement will be reached, Ward says he's hasn't let up on his fitness routine.
"I've been training, training takes precedent. I still got to be prepared for whenever they give us a call to come back to work," Ward said. "Doing little things like this, taking time out of my schedule to come here, to New York, and have this great honor, I'm very blessed and very thankful."
Check out the interview with Hines Ward below.