Remarks: 1990 European Summer Special Olympics Games

Eunice Kennedy Shriver Speech

Opening Ceremonies

1990 European Summer Special Olympics Games

Strathclyde, Scotland

July 21, 1990

Thank you, thank you very much. Good afternoon. Your Royal Highness, distinguished guests, parents, Special Olympians, ladies and gentlemen - We are honored to have you with us here today. Millions are grateful for your magnificent efforts to protect the environment and to preserve the lives and habitats of all living creatures.

Today, when freedom is sweeping the nations of Europe, it is fitting that this Historic event should happen in Scotland, long a champion of freedom.

You parents, athletes, teachers and coaches, the cause of freedom is your cause, just as it is for the young people of Czechoslovakia, of Poland, of Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia and Germany. You have issued a call to freedom all your own. Standing here today, you strike a mighty blow against your walls of segregation, fear, ignorance and elitism.

Special Athletes, you are a living challenge to the tragic deception that human values lie in political power, intelligence and wealth. It is not so. The true measure are those qualities of human spirit shown here, people striving, perseverance, loving and therefore victorious.

In an age of commercialism, you reveal the true and ancient meaning of sports. You are the pioneers.

In our age of egotism, you have brought together under a single banner families, governments and commerce. You are the pioneers.

In our age of self-indulgence, your courage and generous spirits move us to change. You are the pioneers.

Athletes, today you stand on the world stage. From Iceland to Moscow; from the coast of Norway to the islands of Greece, you have come to these playing fields to prove to the world that you will be honored as equals - equals in skill, equal in sharing, equal in courage.

With those soaring qualities of heart and character, you who are the pioneers of the human spirit teach us and honor us far more than we can ever honor you.

Congratulations and good luck Special Olympians.