Earlier today, Maria Shriver was joined by dignitaries, family, and Special Olympics athletes and fans for the unveiling of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Park in the Maroussi municipality of Athens as part of the 2011 World Summer Games.
The peaceful park that honors her legacy is in the shadow of the OAKA stadium, which was built for the 2004 Olympics and is now home to many World Summer Games sporting events. The park is marked by a marble monument inscribed with the Greek word for Eunice, “EYNIKH” (ef-ni-ki), which translated means “Good Victory” –- a phrase that sums up so precisely Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s lifelong commitment to human achievement.
Maria paid tribute to her mother’s legacy as her children and her brothers — Tim, Mark and Bobby, along with their spouses and children — looked on. Second Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden, and Olympians Michelle Kwan, Yao Ming, Dikembe Mutombo, Bart Conner, Edwin Moses and Donna DeVarona were also present for the ceremony.
Also speaking at the dedication ceremony were George Patoulis, Mayor of the Municipality of Maroussi; Joanna Despotopoulou, President of Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011; His All Holiness, Bartholemew, Archbishop of Constantinople New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch; and Deon Namiseb, Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger.
Reflecting on her mother’s legacy, Maria told the audience:
“Mummy would be thrilled that this park is in Athens because it’s named after the Goddess Athena. As we all know, the Goddess Athena is the goddess of wisdom, but she is never depicted without her shield and without her helmet because she is a warrior. At heart, she is a warrior. As every woman knows, you have to be both. You have to know when to be wise. You have to know when to be compassionate. And you have to know when to put on your helmet, take out your spear, put on your shield and go to war — and fight for what you believe in. And Mummy was, at her heart, a warrior. She woke up every day and fought for people with intellectual disabilities. These are the first games that our parents have not been at. I was thinking last night [at the Opening Ceremony] how incredibly proud she would have been to see all of those athletes, all of those coaches, all of those volunteers. Because she always believed that the success of this movement was based on the people who volunteered…she believed in the spirit of volunteerism and the power of volunteerism. If she were here, she would look at every woman here and say that you can change the world…and to never doubt that you can.”
Tell us: What‘s your “good victory”? What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Share your Good Victory below, on Twitter with the #GoodVictory hashtag or on Maria Shriver’s Facebook page.