Death of Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver leaves important legacy

Mention the Kennedy family name in political circles and you’re certain to get a reaction.

Yet the death of 88-year-old Eunice Kennedy Shriver this morning has little to do with long-held opinions many have of her brothers John, Robert and Ted or her son-in-law, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Shriver is the founder of Special Olympics, an athletic completion underscoring the amazing abilities of physically and mentally challenged youth and adults.

A detailed biography of Shriver mentions all of her contributions to the development of Special Olympics and advocacy on behalf of this segment of American society that was largely shunned when she took up the cause in the 1950s.

I recall a few instances early in my sports writing career where I covered local Special Olympics events. The stories you often hear about how much the competitions mean to the participants, the soaring feeling of accomplishment they gain, well, it’s all true.

Sports have often been a conduit for breaking down societal barriers. Think momentarily about Babe Didrikson, Wilma Rudolph or Jackie Robinson.

Cracking open the door for the development of the Special Olympics and greater acceptance and love for the disabled is a legacy that extends well beyond political opinion.

 

 

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Death of Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver leaves important legacy

Mention the Kennedy family name in political circles and you’re certain to get a reaction.

Yet the death of 88-year-old Eunice Kennedy Shriver this morning has little to do with long-held opinions many have of her brothers John, Robert and Ted or her son-in-law, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Shriver is the founder of Special Olympics, an athletic completion underscoring the amazing abilities of physically and mentally challenged youth and adults.

A detailed biography of Shriver mentions all of her contributions to the development of Special Olympics and advocacy on behalf of this segment of American society that was largely shunned when she took up the cause in the 1950s.

I recall a few instances early in my sports writing career where I covered local Special Olympics events. The stories you often hear about how much the competitions mean to the participants, the soaring feeling of accomplishment they gain, well, it’s all true.

Sports have often been a conduit for breaking down societal barriers. Think momentarily about Babe Didrikson, Wilma Rudolph or Jackie Robinson.

Cracking open the door for the development of the Special Olympics and greater acceptance and love for the disabled is a legacy that extends well beyond political opinion.

 

 

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  1. TruthOrTripe said:

    Too many times Christians take the “luke warm” approach of the author to this sort of situation. The bigger picture tells a very real story of the attitudes and opinions of the players. The responses of both the professor and our president opened a window to their beliefs, those being very much tainted by an attitude of racism. As a man thinketh, so he is. I was surprised at the response of a “learned professor” to the police officer doing his duty. But the president of the United States has no business making such off the cuff remarks regardless of any excuse the author makes for him.

    July 28, 2009
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