Athlete Oath


Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave at the attempt”

Eunice Kennedy Shriver jotted down the Special Olympics athlete oath on the morning of July 20, 1968 — just ahead of the opening of the very first Special Olympics International Games. She recited them at a brief Opening Ceremony at Chicago’s Soldier Field before the start of competition.

The words emphasize the importance of effort — and trying for one’s personal best. Nearly 50 years later, these words resonate with Special Olympics athletes: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me brave in the attempt.”