My son and I are back from our 2 week stint in Athens, and thought you’d want to share in our inspiration. Imagine a world that could be…
1. Chairman Tim Shriver spoke at the Opening ceremonies, and delivered the theme for The Games: in juxtaposition to the Athens uprising, he called for Special Olympians to lead a global Dignity Revolution. Throughout the events, the battle cry “Ime Mesa“, “I’m In” was heard!
|The Greek Parliament|
2. Headliner Steve Wonder entertained the thousands in attendance, and spoke of the power of Ability over DISability, and his hero, Helen Keller. (He also told the press that he had stopped singing after the death of his mother, and it was only the spirit of the Special Olympics that moved him to sing once again.)
3. Unified Sports– the start of something BIG. Most of the Special Olympics sporting events hosted a Unified Sports competition to highlight this program of integrating all athletes; special, celebrity and volunteer, together to shatter stereotypes and form new bonds. My son was very fortunate to have been chosen to play for the Unified Sports softball team with Tim Shriver.
|Tim warming up before the game.|
Go to the Special Olympics Unified Sports page to learn how you can join or begin a program in your area.
|My son at bat with the Shriver clan looking on.|
4. Team USA on the medal stand awaiting the GOLD.
5. Music is a universal language…
|Cyclist from Spain|
|The Canadians know how to have a good time!|
6. I have never seen a display of sportsmanship such as I witnessed throughout these Games. Softball players from the Dominican Republic enthusiastically clapped for each and every opponent as they were introduced, athletes from the USA left their bench to shake the hand of each Russian player before their championship game, and ALL teams exchange high 5’s after each game. (I hope the professionals are taking note… NBA/NHL/NFL, etc.)
|Team Canada and Team Dominican Republic exchange hand slaps.|
7. Bravery. Baseball is not a known sport in Greece, but because they were proper hosts, they wanted to create a Hellas team just for the World Games. They formed the only all-female team- with young women who had just learned the game and begun playing a year earlier. They were heroic competitors, and won a gold in the all-female category. Go girls!!
8. Approximately 25,000 volunteers from across the globe converged on Athens for the Special Olympics World Games. They were given uniforms, and a sandwich daily. All other expenses were their own. We were humbled to be amongst their numbers. Perhaps we are in the midst of an world economic crisis, but there was no shortage of goodwill in Greece this June.
9. Family. Each team converged on the stadium with their loyal followers and family members. They were present for every game and practice session. The Games were no doubt the culmination of years of support, sacrifice, highs and lows.
If you would like to offer your own support for these athletes and families, please read more about the Proctor & Gamble Thank You Mom Campaign at the SITS Girls website.
10. THE POWER OF ONE. In the 1960’s, Eunice Kennedy Shriver held the first “Games” in her backyard. Fifty years later, millions and millions of athletes have competed and led quality lives because of one woman’s simple vision; that the world would be a better place if those with mental handicaps were active participants, and not held in the shadows or institutionalized. During the Games, Maria Shriver, Jill Biden and other dignitaries unveiled an Athens park in her honor. How can we honor her vision…?
If you’d like to read more about our family’s journey, or how you can become involved, please visit the SITS Girls site. Ime Mesa!!
Beautiful post! It gave me chills. I have had the honor to volunteer at Special Olympic Games (just local games) when I worked in therapeutic riding. It is an incredibly humbling and exhilarating experience.
Thanks for sharing! Stopping by from Oh Amanda's.
As a PT, I've treated autistic children with hippotherapy- it works wonders!! I'm pleased to meet another comarade! I'll be stopping by your site now :DM
Family Stitchery says
Hi following you now from Say Hi Sunday. If you can stop by http://www.familystitchery.blogspot.com.
Hi Family Stichery and welcome! I'm stopping by now… :DM
Your post was amazing. I think it is so wonderful what the Special Olympics does. I have been following Maria Shriver and her mom for years now and realize how great they are and how her mom was a revolutionary for her time in the 60's.
Diane @ Can DO It MOM
Hi Diane- yes, what the Shriver family has done for the "differently abled" has changed millions of lives. Thanks for stopping over-