Maria Shriver and other dignitaries gathered to unveil the Special Olympics’ Eunice Kennedy Shriver Plaque in Athens to honor the memory and contributions of the Special Olympics founder as part of the World Summer Games 2011.
At the unveiling, Maria gave a statement paying tribute to her mom’s legacy while her brothers Tim, Mark and Robert Shriver looked on, along with their spouses and children. Also present was Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden, Olympians Michelle Kwan, Yao Mink, Kikembe Mutombo, Bart Conner, Edwin Moses and Donna DeVarona.
Read what Shriver had to say and watch a video below…
“Mummy would be thrilled that this park is in Athens because it’s named after the Goddess Athena. As we all know, the Goddess Athena is the goddess of wisdom, but she is never depicted without her shield and without her helmet because she is a warrior. At heart, she is a warrior. As every woman knows, you have to be both. You have to know when to be wise. You have to know when to be compassionate. And you have know when to put on your helmet, take out your spear, put on your shield and go to war — and fight for what you believe in. And Mummy was, at her heart, a warrior. She woke up every day and fought…that’s what she did her whole life. “
The park is marked by a marble monument inscribed with the word “EYNIKH” (ef-ni-ki), Greek for Eunice, which translated means “Good Victory” – a phrase that so accurately describes her commitment to human triumphs both large and small. Located in the Maroussi municipality of Athens, it is close to the OAKA stadium, which, built for the 2004 Olympics, is now home to many of Special Olympics World Summer Games sporting events including tennis, athletics and volleyball.
Also speaking were George Patoulis, Mayor of the Municipality of Maroussi; Joanna Despotopoulou, President of Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011; His All Holiness, Bartholemew, Archbishop of Constantinople New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch; and Deon Namiseb, Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger.
The Special Olympics World Summer Games began this weekend with Opening Ceremonies at the Panathenaic Stadium, home of the very first Olympics, and featured performances by Stevie Wonder and Vanessa Williams. The two-week event is the world’s largest multi-day summer sporting event this year and will conclude after two weeks of competition on July 4th, uniting nearly 7,000 exceptionally talented athletes to compete in 22 Olympic-type sports, as well as 125 coaches from nearly 180 nations. Team USA alone comprises 315 athletes.
Read more about the Special Olympics HERE.