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!

6 thoughts on “Closing Ceremony Poem by Tim Shriver

  1. Pingback: Closing Ceremony Poem by Tim Shriver | specialolympicslouisiana

  2. Tim, as usual you did a super job at the world games. The poem was excellent and i’m sure the athletes were superb as usual. Ryan, your job is important and you do a great job i’m sure. I hope to hear more from you and we keep in touch by e-mail. Tim you are the best ever your mom and sarge are very proud of you i’m sure, they are smiling from above. Take care, and keep rolling. Gerry meyer { global messenger and athelete of special olymics illinois}

  3. What does all this mean? It means nothing if our athletes are not safe. And, if Special Olympics continues to NOT do diligent background checks on ALL of its volunteers….no athlete is safe. If Special Olympics continues to KNOWINGLY allow coaches, unified partners, volunteers and chaperones to participate as mentors to Special Olympics athletes after mandatory reporters report that these volunteers have criminal records & are sexual predators…..NO ATHLETE IS SAFE! Every athlete is in harms way if this situation is not taken seriously. And, it is not taken seriously by Special Olympics….around the country. Especially, Special Olympics Florida. Check out “Special Olympics & Lawsuits” on the internet. Do some research. Tim Shriver….no poem as lovely as you would like it to sound, as many hearts it may touch….means anything if our athletes are subjected to volunteers who are abusers of the disabled. Take the situation seriously…..wake up…….it is an important issue & has been for years that needs to be addressed & has been “swept under the rug” way too often!!!! Focus your efforts on the safety of our athletes. Your Mom gave so much of her life to making sure Special Olympics athletes enjoyed Special Olympics sports. How do you think she would feel if she knew that the safety of every single athlete was not a top priority of Special Olympics & her son, The Chairman? Does Special Olympics sports help the build self esteem & self worth of athletes? Isn’t it the goal? Well then…..do you think if athletes have experienced abuse by volunteers their self esteem may suffer? Doesn’t that mean anything? This is not a new revelation….do some research…..Ryan…….and don’t bother sending me back a message as you had before stating that my issue is being looked into. That is truly a bunch of nonsense and anything but the truth! Shame on Special Olympics. Turning a blind eye to athletes that have been abused & continue to be abused by volunteers is no different that Penn State (Sandusky) & The Boy Scouts Perversion Files!

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