• Main
  • Stories
  • Maya Angelou, True Friend of Special Olympics

Maya Angelou, True Friend of Special Olympics

Maya Angelou presented the chairman of Special Olympics, Sargent Shriver, with a signed print of her poem, "I Rise!" in 2003.
Special Olympics is mourning the loss of Maya Angelou, the American poet, activist and storyteller who inspired us all. Maya Angelou – winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among many other honors - was a longtime supporter of the Special Olympics Movement. Most notably, she was a member of the Special Olympics support team at the last World Summer Games held in the USA -- the 1999 World Summer Games in North Carolina. At those Games, Maya Angelou read a special version of her poem "I Rise!" as a tribute to Special Olympics. "I Rise" repeats many of the verses from her poem "Still I Rise." The poem she read at the 1999 opening ceremony paid tribute to Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver and included a sentence that refers directly to the Games: "We have reached some incredible level to be in Raleigh, NC from Iceland, from Arkansas, from Paris, France. Imagine it, we are actually here rising, rising."


Read more about Maya Angelou and Special Olympics