[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1995, Book II)]
[July 1, 1995]
[Pages 1044-1045]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks at the Opening Ceremonies of the Special Olympics World Games in 
New Haven, Connecticut
July 1, 1995

    Let's give her another hand. [Applause] Thank you, Loretta 
Claiborne, for that wonderful introduction. And thank you for the power 
of your example for young people all across America and throughout the 
world: I know we're all impressed that you have completed 25 marathons. 
I'm also pleased that in these games you're representing Team 
Pennsylvania in one of my favorite sports, bowling. I also want to thank 
four other very special runners--four members of the United States 
Special Olympics Team, David Congdon, David McQuarry, Troy Rutter and 
Daniel Bailey, who came to Washington to the White House this week to 
run 3 miles with me to highlight the importance of Special Olympics. 
They were much faster than I was, but they were very gentle and kind 
that day. I want to congratulate the city of New Haven and the State of 
Connecticut for the magnificent job that they have done. From the 
Governor, the Senators, the members of the congressional district, to 
the mayor, to all the ordinary citizens in this State and this wonderful 
city where my wife and I met almost 25 years ago: You have done a 
wonderful, wonderful job.
    Ladies and gentlemen, we must also thank the person whose 
inspiration, leadership, and determination has brought us all here 
today, the founder of these games, Eunice Shriver. Year after year, 
decade after decade, her vision grows clearer and her energy seems to 
increase as she brings more and more and more of us throughout the world 
into the orbit of her incredible determination to make the Special 
Olympics all that it can be and to mean all that it can mean for all of 
    We also thank her for making the Special Olympics a family affair. 
Thank you, Sargent Shriver, for being the creative force behind the 
worldwide growth of Special Olympics. And thank you, Timothy Shriver, 
for doing such an outstanding job as president of these 1995 games.
    I also want to thank the distinguished former Governor of 
Connecticut, Lowell Weicker, who has continued to serve his country 
magnificently as the chairman of these 1995 games. Thank you, Lowell 
Weicker. Please stand up. Thank you. [Applause]
    Let me welcome also leaders throughout the world who have come here 
to cheer for their athletes. We have people from countries all across 
the globe. I am here to cheer for the Americans. They're here to cheer 
for their ath-

[[Page 1045]]

letes. And we're all here to cheer all of you on. Thank you for coming 
from all distant corners of the globe.
    These world games are being called the games of inclusion. From 
their beginnings in the United States 27 years ago, the Special Olympics 
have grown to include more than 144 countries on 6 continents. Large and 
small nations are represented here, welcomed as equals.
    We have seen here people brought together of every race, color, and 
creed, every faith, in a joyful celebration of peaceful competition, 
good will, and the triumph of the human spirit. The world could learn a 
great lesson from all of you standing down here in the Yale Bowl 
tonight: Everybody counts, and everybody can do something very, very 
important and good.
    You are the living symbol that we can reach across continents, 
across cultures, across human differences, to unleash the God-given 
potential that lies within every individual. You have shown us in so 
many ways that when you are given the chance, you can do extraordinary 
things. The world community is recognizing this more and more.
    We have come so far in such a short time. Here in the United States, 
it has only been 5 years since we passed the Americans with Disabilities 
Act, committing ourselves to treating our people on the basis of their 
abilities, not their disabilities. And the world is moving as well. This 
week, on its 50th anniversary, the United Nations convened the very 
first international symposium on intellectual disabilities. There is 
more to come.
    But our work is not yet done. President Kennedy once said that the 
rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are 
threatened. So tonight I challenge all of you and every citizen of the 
world watching us to be an olympic champion for inclusion, a champion 
for equal rights, a champion for dignity, a champion for the triumph of 
the human spirit in all of us.
    That spirit, that spirit, these athletes are about to show all over 
the globe. So, by all means and with great spirit, let the games begin.
    I want all of you to know that you have our love, our support, and 
our admiration. I hereby declare the 1995 Special Olympics World Games 
officially open.

Note: The President spoke at 9:40 p.m. at the Yale Bowl. In his remarks, 
he referred to Loretta Claiborne, athlete and Special Olympics board 
member; Gov. John G. Rowland of Connecticut; and Mayor John DeStefano of 
New Haven, CT.