First Sportsman of the Year Legacy Award is presented to Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver in conjunction with a full-length feature about Special Olympics in the 8 December 2008 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine
On 3 December 2008, Sports Illustrated honored Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver with the first Sportsman of the Year Legacy Award at the 2008 Sportsman of the Year celebration in New York City. Bobby Shriver, Mrs. Shriver’s son, attended the celebration and accepted the award on her behalf.
The Sportsman of the Year Legacy Award was created to recognize those who have, over the course of their lifetime, demonstrated the ideals of sportsmanship.
Mrs. Shriver was recognized for having transformed a population. In 1968, she marched alongside 1,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities from 26 U.S. states in the first Special Olympics Opening Ceremonies in Chicago, Illinois. On that day Mrs. Shriver recited the impactful words that remain the Special Olympics athlete oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” Today more than 2.8 million athletes participate in Special Olympics in over 180 countries worldwide.
In addition to recognizing Mrs. Shriver’s lifetime of selfless contributions, this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated includes a special feature on Special Olympics. Sports Illustrated senior writer Jack McCallum takes a look back at the 40-year-history of the Special Olympics and the first Special Olympics Games in 1968. Read the Sports Illustrated article.
The Sports Illustrated issue featuring Special Olympics, with Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps on the cover, is available on newsstands today. Phelps was also featured on the cover of the most recent issue of Special Olympics' Spirit magazine. He was one of several U.S. Olympic swimmers who toured China to build awareness of the Special Olympics and Olympic Games.