At the Closing Ceremony of the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in PyeongChang, Republic of Korea, Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver delivered an inspired poem about the heart of the Games experience. Here is the text of the poem as delivered on 5 February 2013:
Centuries ago, a mystic wrote, “if the only prayer you ever say your entire life is ‘Thank you’ that will be enough.”
Today, our prayer is thank you.
Thank you for the volunteers who pushed the chairs with wheels
The MATP medals that made us know how winning feels
Thanks for all those docs for feet and eyes and ears
And for the teeth they cleaned so we can smile from all our ears to ears
Thanks for cheers and hockey pucks when they hit the back of the net
For officials who kept the rough and tumble safe so parents wouldn’t fret
Thanks for smiles that sneak out from the corners of shy eyes
Thanks even for the times they stopped our hearts and made us cry
Thanks for skates so sharp and music in our figures
Thanks for all the ways that dancing on the ice made us feel bigger
Thanks for skis and gates and boards that fly down magic mountains
For Young leaders dancing Gangnam style and for swimming in winter fountains
Thanks for Banda, Kyi, and Lee who came without a fuss
Thanks for when they told us that the athletes should lead us
Thanks for little athletes who learned to jump and shoot a ball
Thanks for every family member, first fans, cheering for us all
Thanks for Gareth Cowin who broke our hearts in tears of sadness
You’ll never leave us Gareth, your spirit will forever surround us
Thanks for global messengers of peace, sport and of acceptance
We’ll follow you wherever you go – all the way to the world’s end
Thank you even for the struggles and bones that broke and simplicity and weakness.
We know that they’re all a part of harmony that more is sometimes less
Thank you to the source of snow and ice, the color blue
Our joy is from our common heart in the love that sparkles true
Thanks for all Korea and the powerful chairman Na
The Revolution she will lead will take us to the stars
We thank you God, Allah, Adonai, and consciousness
We believe in gentle dignity because your spirit is in us.
Thank you to the volunteers who made us feel the magic Ah
2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games, the best games yet, hurrah, bravo, kamsahamnida!!
Now, onward leaders of the dignity revolution! When God closes one door, God opens another. The games now close, but they have opened us to our power, our joy, our reckless bravery.
Let us imagine the world we want to live in and build it now. The revolution has begun anew. Watch out LA, watch out world cause here we come!