hsi_logo

Inspirational Quote

A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.
David Brinkley

Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Founder: Special Olympics

You are the stars and the world is watching you.  By your presence, you send a message to every village, every city, every nation. A message of hope. A message of victory.”  –Eunice Kennedy Shriver (1987 Special Olympics World Games)

As with many major undertakings, Special Olympics began casually – almost by accident. In 1957, Eunice Kennedy Shriver (EKS) took on the leadership for new initiatives and programs for the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation. One of her first goals was to create opportunities for her “special friends” to actively participate in sports training and competition. When the mother of a child with intellectual disabilities asked for help in finding a summer camp for her child, EKS willingly took on the task. But in trying to find appropriate athletic facilities, she discovered that none existed. So, in typical EKS fashion, she took action and started Camp Shriver in her own backyard.

EKS believed that the camp would be a success, and she was right. Her own children, other young volunteers, and campers with intellectual disabilities all played together. Her husband, Sargent Shriver, was an active and avid cheerleader for Camp Shriver (and eventually the President and CEO of Special Olympics). There were soon five more camps around the country, and by 1968, 40 camps nationwide.

The first Special Olympics, held at Soldier Field in Chicago, did not attract enormous crowds. In fact, fewer than 100 people sat in the 85,000 seat stadium to watch the competitions in track and field, floor hockey and aquatics. But when 1,000 athletes from 26 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada joined with EKS as she recited the Special Olympics oath, it was the start of a world movement. She predicted that one million individuals with intellectual disability would one day compete; even with her powerful optimism, EKS would have marveled that in 2010, over 3.5 million Special Olympics athletes would be training in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 170 countries.


To learn more about her inspirational life and work, Eunice Kennedy Shriver: Special Olympics can be purchased as an e-book for the modest price of $4.99. Search for it by name or under the heading “Mobilizing the Human Spirit” at the following book sellers: Apple iBookstore (for iPad), Amazon (for Kindle,), Barnes & Noble (for Nook) and many other e-book retailers