Sargent Shriver's Remarks
I am delighted to stand here tonight before such distinguished representatives of the "Special Olympics" Programs of two nations, both of which are filled with the potential of reaching an incredible number of people with mental retardation. Those two famous programs are Special Olympics Turkey and Special Olympics Bharat.
On behalf of Special Olympics International Headquarters, I would like to recognize Chairperson Dilek Sabanci and all members of Special Olympics Turkey and Chairman Air Marshall Dezil Keelor and all members of Special Olympics Bharat, for their commitment to their athletes.
We join together tonight to celebrate their commitments to growth, as they expand their efforts to reach all people in Turkey and India, and ultimately around the world!
To truly understand the significance of their efforts, let us remember that each additional athlete is not just some number on a company report. Every single addition represents someone whose life could be transformed by the kind of joy, hope, courage, and self-esteem that "Special Olympics" already brings to one million children and adults with mental retardation around the world. Nor can we forget the families, the coaches, and the volunteers, whose lives will also be touched and renewed by their interaction with our inspiring athletes.
To see an athlete train and compete through "Special Olympics" is to realize that inner strength knows no limitations, and to have the very best in human nature revealed to us. Witnessing "Special Olympics" in action not only puts an end to the misconceptions people have about persons with mental retardation, but also eliminates the more general notion that human spirit can be suppressed, or that human capacity is limited.
That is why tonight is such a joyous occasion, as we embark upon our "Campaign for Growth" to double the number of Athletes in "Special Olympics" by the year 2005. Special Olympics Bharat and Special Olympics Turkey Programs will be instrumental in achieving that inspiring result.
I only wish I could stay here through the entire event this evening. But even if I can only be with you for a few minutes, I am grateful for this opportunity to congratulate all of you on your tremendous progress and impressive advances. May this evening mark only the beginning of successes, which will inspire Special Olympics Programs and people world-wide!