A Message from Tim Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics International
July 6, 2018
Dear Athletes, Coaches, Family Members, Volunteers, Games Partners, Supporters of the Games, and Greater Seattle Community:
Thank you! The 2018 USA Games said, "Rise with Us" and you did - with open hearts and minds. You were magnificent hosts.
It was a USA Games of many significant firsts, raising the bar for future Games. More importantly, Seattle showed America and the world what a city of inclusion can look like. A community where everyone is included, valued for their gifts and skills, and given a fair opportunity to thrive.
So many moments moved me while I was in Seattle, too many to list here, but I was especially moved by my guest on stage for the Opening Ceremony, Frannie Ronan, who said to all in the stadium, “I love you.” Frannie is yet another leader in the Inclusion Revolution that is spreading a message of love and acceptance to all.
The Games lasted from July 1-6 but I ask each of you: what happens on July 7, 8, 9 and beyond? What will each of you do to turn this inspiration into action? How will you choose to include those with intellectual differences in your communities and in your lives henceforth, through acts big or small?
It is my hope that the legacy of these Games will be a Washington that is proud to have shown the way for the nation, to have been at the forefront of the Inclusion Revolution, and which will ensure that the athletes and families of Special Olympics Washington benefit from the catalyst for change that was the Games.
In two weeks' time, the Special Olympics global movement will celebrate its 50th anniversary. When my mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founded Special Olympics she was fueled by an unrelenting drive and clear vision for a world where people with intellectual disabilities would receive the respect, acceptance and opportunities they deserve.
For 50 years, Special Olympics has led a joyful rebellion, using the power of sport to create more inclusive communities around the world. But our athletes cannot wait another 50 years for her vision to become reality: the time is now and we need each of you to make it happen where you live and work.
I commend, thank and applaud 2018 Special Olympics USA Games President and CEO Beth Knox and the Local Organizing Committee, the leadership and staff of Special Olympics Washington and Special Olympics North America for their years of planning and hard work on these Games. This week has been a stunning success!
In closing, I think Brad Smith, President of Microsoft and Honorary Chairman of the USA Games said it best when referring to our movement last week when he said: "We (Seattle) will be a better place because you were here." To Seattle we say: our movement is better because we were there.
Timothy P. Shriver
Chairman, Special Olympics International