ESPN will posthumously honor late Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver with the Authur Ashe Courage Awards at the 25th ESPYS Presented by Capital One on Wednesday in Los Angeles. The company announced Monday that First Lady Michelle Obama will present the award to Timothy Shriver who is the Chairman of Special Olympics and will accept the award on his mother’s behalf.
“My mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, was a visionary, but, more importantly, a revolutionary,” Shriver said when the award was announced. “Fueled by love and anger, she used sport to break down the barriers, she used fields of play to bring people together, and she opened the doors of inclusion and equality to the most marginalized on Earth. It is now up to all of us to follow the athletes of Special Olympics who can teach us all to accept and include each other.”
The Special Olympics, is a sporting event founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in the late 1960s to help empower people with intellectual disabilities.
Mrs. Obama says in a statement that Eunice Shriver’s work to promote their inclusion and acceptance was inspiring and changed the lives of countless young athletes.
The courage award is given annually to someone who embodies the spirit of its namesake, tennis legend and longtime human rights campaigner Arthur Ashe.
“Eunice Kennedy Shriver was a passionate champion for those with developmental challenges, empowering them to fulfill their highest potential,” Obama said in a statement. “Her work to promote inclusion and acceptance transformed the lives of countless young athletes and inspired us all. I am incredibly honored to present this award to her son to celebrate her life’s work.”
Kennedy Shriver, who died in 2009, was the sister of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy. She founded the Special Olympics in 1968.
Kennedy Shriver’s Special Olympics organization began as Camp Shriver in 1962 and was borne out of her bond with her sister, Rosemary, who was mentally disabled. The Special Olympics now has more than 5.3 million athletes worldwide.
Kennedy Shriver will be the ninth posthumous recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award and second consecutive. Zaevion Dobson, a former high school football player who died after saving two girls from gunfire, was the recipient in 2016.