Remarks: 1983 World Games Closing Ceremonies

Remarks by Mrs. Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Bill Bankhead, Emmanuel Bourgeois, people of Baton Rouge, citizens of Louisiana, parents, volunteers and all of the winners associated with these games.

What a spectacular thing you have done this week! This has been the largest sporting event produced for Special Athletes in the history of the world. Think about that for a minute.

Never - not in the Roman Empire, not in the Renaissance, not in Pharaoh's Egypt, not in Imperial China - has anyone, anywhere, in any time produced an event that compared to this one. Each of you has participated in nothing less than the making of history itself.

What lesson have you taught the world? What truth has been revealed on these playing fields? It is an idea as ancient as man and as recent as the founding of the United States. Yet it is frequently denied. It is that all human beings are created equal in the sense that God gives each of us the capacity and a hunger for moral excellence, for courage, for friendship and for love. Whatever the speed of our feet, whatever the strength of our bodies, each of us is capable of these highest virtues. Intelligence does not limit love nor does wealth produce friendship.

Athletes - your races are over. Your contests are done. What skill you have shown us! What magnificent sportsmanship! This circle of friendship is a sight the whole world will see and take to its heart. For it is symbolic of everything God intended life to be: loving, united, joyous, victorious.

Olympians, I know I will see many of you at the next International Special Olympics Games in 1987. May your journey home be safe. May you find victory in life as you have in these Games.

I now declare the 1983 International Summer Special Olympics Games to be closed.