Special Olympics Athletes “Redefined Winning” On the Way to Social Change

ghsAs he accepted a prestigious award, Special Olympics Chairman, Tim Shriver, made a point about people worldwide with intellectual disabilities.

“Their cause is, I think, the only cause in the history of social change whose voice has been primarily carried through sport,” Shriver said.

He made his remarks 16 January as he accepted the Walter Camp Football Foundation Distinguished American Award in New Haven, CT. The award is given each year to an individual who has utilized his or her talents to attain great success in business, private life or public service and who may have accomplished that which no other has done.

In his acceptance speech, Shriver explained that the Special Olympics movement has been a way for “the gifts, and dignity and value and worthfulness of people with Down syndrome or autism or William’s syndrome or other intellectual challenges [to be seen] as full and decent human beings.”

“They came to the playing fields of sport and turned the whole thing upside down. They redefined winning.”

Hear more of his powerful speech at the link below.

Related Video:  given by Tim Shriver. Hear the full speech

Image Caption: Tim Shriver, third from left, was awarded the prize on January 16.

Last year, we produced a video about our athletes that featured them displaying signs.  On the first side it says what society told them they could not do, and on the other side it tells what Special Olympics says they CAN do!  We shared this video a while back, but thought it would be good to post again, both as a refresher, and for our new followers that may be seeing for the first time.  We hope you enjoy!

Project Unify

Project Unify will kick off Year 7 this September and we are happy to be a Project Unify Athlete and Partnerpart of this great movement!  Here is a great saying that depicts what Project Unify really is… You can’t spell “Challenge without Change!”  Because, with Project Unify, we are facing the challenges and changing the world!


Special Olympics teaches…

CEO CornerSeveral months ago I was talking with a parent of a Special Olympics athlete.  I asked the Dad how Special Olympics had impacted his family.  His response was, “Special Olympics has made it okay for people to look at people with disabilities”.  Immediately I knew what he meant.  Many of us were raised not to stare at people with disabilities.  Special Olympics made it okay to look, and made it okay to engage persons with disabilities in conversation and to have them as friends.  If you have a child with a disability, if you are a volunteer, what has Special Olympics taught you?

– Pat Carpenter Bourgeois, President and CEO of Special Olympics Louisiana