Laureus Award

May 25, 2000

Speech in Monaco

Welcoming Speech

Laureus Sports Awards

Monaco

Thank you, Prince Albert for this pioneering Laureus Award and for your warm acceptance of our heroic Special Olympics Athletes, Ambassadors from 150 nations. You are an important world leader for many endeavors of social improvement and human goodness. Living in almost every village in the world, there is a person with mental retardation, they believe that to play on the fields of sports someday they too will be loved and admired by the world. For too long they have been told they cannot contribute, for too long they have been told they have no gifts, for too long, they have been told no. Yet all they ask is for a chance. If you are young, you can cheer. If you are an athlete, you can coach. If you are a parent, you can beam with pride. If you are gifted in any way, you can share. So tonight, I ask you to make room in your community, make room on your playing fields, make room in your hearts. Then, you will have answered the challenge of President Kennedy in his Inaugural Address: "Here on earth God's work must truly be our own."