Yesterday, Special Olympics athletes started a quest to bring hope and inspiration to Greece.  When the Flame of Hope for the Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011 was lit by the sun’s rays along the lines of the original torch lighting of the Olympics, at the Sacred Sight of Pnyx, opposite the Acropolis in Athens, the inspiration was palpable. The lighting formally launched the Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR) Final Leg that precedes the Summer Games which begin in just 15 days!  You can read more about today’s event on our website, and be sure to see some pictures form the event below, but in this space I’m hoping to ask something else of you.

Watching the inspirational power of the Flame of Hope, and having the privilege to speak at today’s ceremony, got me thinking about the power of what these Games mean to the country of Greece and its’ future, as well as the future of Special Olympics around the globe.

So I’d like to ask your help with my Opening Ceremony speech by having you answer a question – What do you want for the future of Special Olympics?

Ours is the world’s largest Movement for respect and inclusion, driven by the catalytic power of sport, and every one in our Movement – athletes, coaches, volunteers, families, youth, donors, and more – deserves to have their voices heard.

So here’s your chance! Comment on the blog here, tweet @TimShriver, or leave a post on my Facebook page and tell me what it is you want to hear in my speech at Opening Ceremony on June 25 to help shape the future of Special Olympics!

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Photos from June 9 Torch Lighting Ceremony

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14 thoughts on “What do you want for the future of Special Olympics?

  1. i would like to hear as a athlete my self here how we can do anything that just because we learn differently we are still one your whole family including the Kennedy stood for acepetence it needs to be heard we are more alike then not i love all of you truly love your mother for her vision she transforms thousands of children lives and adults but proved on a simple playing field we all have talents that shine we are one !

  2. I agree that more local interaction with the parents is needed. The websites I visit are mainly geared to fundraising events instead of athletic events. So I leave not knowing how to get my child involved. I know that after around age 5, finding resources was more difficult but I needed to have my child involved in physical activities. He is now 11 requires constant one on one and many of his peers become too sedentary. I do not want him to be a couch potato! He does better mentally when he’s active physically. He does require a buddy for all activities. So I think the special olympics of the future would provide athletic buddies (when needed) for the families and participants of speical athletes to make sure they reach their potential.

  3. I would love to see the future of Special Olympics include a strong Young Athletes programs throughout the world. Those that have the opportunity to participate alongside their peers from the young age of 2 won’t know some of the challenges faced by the athletes that paved the way for them. By making participation in Special Olympics a “way of life” at a young age, we may achieve the goals of the other postings on this page. The Young Athlete program should become a strong feeder program for traditional Special Olympics — for athletes, peer partners and volunteers.

  4. Please incorp the below from your 2009 A Message of Dr. Tim Shriver to the Special Olympics Movement

    It was Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s unconditional love for the athletes of Special Olympics that fulfilled her life. She never hoped that people with intellectual disabilities should be somehow changed into something they were not. Rather, she fought throughout her life to ensure that they would be allowed to reach their full potential so that we might in turn be changed by them, forced to recognize our own false assumptions and their inherent gifts.

    Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk and social activist reminded us: “the beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image, lest we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”

  5. In the Spring 2011 Athens Airport magazine, you state: “we have excellent athletes & we are advocates of the Olympic Ideal, not Olympic Performances; that w/the opportunity of the Athens2011 Special Olympics, we once again promote our aim which is the organization of Olympic Games in the true spirit of the Olympic Ideal.” A suggestion to host the Special Olympics always in Greece promotes the true spirit of the Olympic Ideal.

  6. I look forward to the day when we stop talking about our participants as persons with intellectual disabilities and when we speak of them as “athletes” it is self explanatory. When we no longer need to advocate for our athletes at the international, national and local communtiy levels, because they have the necessary education. health, and wellness, and leadership opportunities that are available to others. I look forward to the day when our older athletes are not eliminated from the program because they have less support from schools, home, and community resources than they need.

  7. Tim, this is what I hope to see in the future:
    The vision becomes the final outcome … going to a competition and seeing athletes:
    Dressed in sport-appropriate attire (that fits and is age and gender appropriate).
    Competing according to the rules; having fun; setting personal bests in their performances.
    Receiving positive feedback, reinforcement and motivation from coaches.
    Being well prepared and well supervised; exhibiting discipline and showing good sportsmanship.
    Respecting teammates, opponents, coaches, and officials; cheering for their team and opponents.
    Eating nutritious snacks and meals; getting and staying hydrated with water.
    Going through the Healthy Athletes program.
    Receiving awards with honor and dignity and being respected for what they can do!
    Truly, the coach has so much influence on that outcome.
    The Better the Coach … the more Sport-Qualified the Coach … the Better the Experiences … the Better the Athlete!

  8. Tim, SO is the hope for persons with intelectual challenges around the world. It is an example of the right type of global movement, it must continue to combine – a) programmes (sports training; national, regional and global competition; special programmes such as HA), with b) policy pushes such as lobbying for an end to the R Word which is not just about the word, but the attitude, advocacy.. with a call for c) increased inclusion and access in the areas of – education, health care, a role at the leadership table. All underpinned by a desire to live the phrase ‘nothing for us without us’ as bourne out our ALPs initiative. We are on the right track. Let us in the years ahead, deepend our role in our respective programmes to bring in more and more of those in our community are still looking in from outside the fences and longing to get on the play field of life.

  9. TIm your speech at the Idaho games still resonates with me…don’t pity these people, follow them. When you see the people from so many nations who are traditionally at war, dancing together and encouraging each other, that is what we need more of in this world. I would like to see that message made louder and clearer. I agree with the idea of keeping people involved as they get older. Participating in sports connects the athletes to a healthier lifestyle so I would like to see year round healthy group activities. Thank you for continuing the work of your mother!

  10. I would like to see a stonger emphasis on “group home” involvement. How do we keep the athletes involved? How do we reach more or these residents and get them into or back into the program? How do we keep them involved when the parents are not involved as much anymore? We need a plan for outreach as more and more of athletes are moving out of the home and into community placement situations. Community Mental Health is not always ‘supportive’ of our program and we need to bridge this gap and improve relationships with CMH and SO.

  11. I would like to see the R movement to ensure the world be stronger and stand together. Let’s us reunite the world of all bodies of every organization of disabilties to form together the world that we can work together in one world games. All disablities nation should be united together to govern the sports. Let’s bring the peace we stand to all athletes, coaches, volunteer, and families to bring the strength of all our loss fellow friend in the tragic of enviornment and nature. We stand together.
    Can the world stand to envision the sport better than any real olympics and bring the joy. The World is need help with finicial to secuity our program.

  12. It should be a speech of hope and encouragement for everyone to get involved every day on making a better world for each other. I was touched by Molly Hincka story. I believe that we all should have the opportunity to fulfill our dreams regardless of any physical or mental disabilities. We, as humans, should encourage each other to keep dreaming and to focus in what we can do or believe we can do and not in what others tell us what we can or should do. It is one of my dreams to see our children be encouraged by everyone around them to believe in themselves sadly at this moment in time is not the case. Big dreams start when one person encourage another one to hope, and to believe that all things are possible. Let’s today be the day that we all promise ourselves to plant seeds of hope in anyone we encounter. Let’s make the world a place were each of us concentrate in seeing the good in everyone we meet. This should begin in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our cities, in our countries, and in our world. After all, we all are part of the same race. the human race.

  13. Would it be possible for the Special Olympics to recognise devolution (i.e for there to be a team from the nations of the United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) in order to ensure that more people get the chance to hear about the work of the Special Olympics?

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