Today I traveled to the beautiful Island of Rhodes with my family, fellow Special Olympics International Board Members, Program leaders and Special Olympics fans to take part in the World Games Host Town activities. Delegations from Australia, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, France, Haiti, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Thailand and the United States, who have been enjoying the warm hospitality of the people of Rhodes this week, celebrated with us in the ancient medieval castle on the north side of the Island, known as the “Old Town of Rhodes,” for the arrival of the Flame of Hope.
Leaders in the community, including Mayor of Rhodes, Mr. Stathis Kousournas, and Regional Governor of the Southern Aegean, Mr. Giannis Mahgridis, welcomed us to their island and together we celebrated the World Games in Greece.
Adam Hayes, Special Olympics Maryland athlete and a Guardian of the Flame of Hope (along with over a hundred law enforcement officers from throughout Greece and around the world) gave an inspiring speech about equality.
“When I run, I feel like I am an equal with the Torch Run officers!” he proclaimed, “athletes can achieve as much as anyone else, when they are given the chance.”
Because of the support of his family and community, Adam proclaimed, “I earned a college degree in visual communications!” The best part of Adam’s remarks was an invitation for us all:
“I’m in to the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games! I’m in for celebrating the strength and courage of my fellow athletes! I’m in to celebrating every kind of ability! I’m in to recognizing our bright flame of hope as a symbol that gives me courage and love for all!”
My question for all of you is: Are YOU in?!!?