7:58 PM PDT 7/12/2017 by Lauren Huff
The former first lady presented the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Kennedy’s son, Timothy Shriver, who chairs the Special Olympics.
Former first lady Michelle Obama posthumously honored Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who founded the Special Olympics, at the 25th annual ESPY awards Wednesday night. Shriver died in 2009.
Obama presented the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Kennedy’s son, Timothy Shriver, who chairs the Special Olympics. The organization helps to empower those with intellectual disabilities through sports.
“I am here tonight to honor a remarkable woman,” said Obama, who received a standing ovation from the audience as she walked onstage. She called Shriver a woman who believed “everyone deserves a chance to push themselves and find out what they’re made of.”
Obama continued, “Through her passionate service, she made our world more inclusive and fair. … She honored the highest traditions of athletic history, using sports to break barriers and change hearts and minds.” Shriver’s “visionary idea” went on to become a “worldwide movement,” Obama said.
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Timothy, upon accepting the award on behalf of his mother, told Obama he was “deeply, deeply honored” to have her present. “Once a first lady, still a great first lady. Our mother would have loved you — your forthrightness, your honesty, your toughness.”
He went on to say his mother “wanted to be known as a great hero of sports, and she got that tonight.” He added, “She’s here in the hearts and minds of millions of Special Olympics athletes. … This movement that she created almost 50 years ago is not done yet. We’ve got a lot of work to do for equality.”
The award, given to Zaevion Dobson, Caitlyn Jenner and Michael Sam in past years, honors someone who embodies the spirit of tennis legend and longtime human rights campaigner Arthur Ashe.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s sister, Rosemary Kennedy, was intellectually disabled.
Former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning hosted this year’s ceremony.