The sun has yet to rise over the oak trees that line this windy road in Carmel Valley, a sleepy town in Northern California's wine country, when Anthony Kennedy Shriver steps on to a makeshift stage with his sister Maria Shriver while nearly 1,500 bicyclists watch from below. They are preparing to kick off the Audi Best Buddies Challenge, a 100-mile bike ride from Carmel down to San Simeon along the picturesque Pacific Coast Highway to raise money and awareness for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
For a while back in the 1930s the initials E.K. appeared several times on a board at the Hyannis Yacht Club on Cape Cod. They indicated the champion sailor for that particular year in the 18-foot wooden sloop division. Edward "Ted" Kennedy, the senator from Massachusetts and the last of nine children of Joseph and Rose Kennedy, would boast from time to time that they stood for "Edward Kennedy." But if sister Eunice, 11 years his senior, was around, she would gleefully point out, "Teddy, you were only a baby at the time."
President Obama is well on his way to enshrinement in the Guinness Book of World Records for most miscues, stinks and brushfires in the first 100 days of an administration. The latest concerns his televised lament to Jay Leno on Thursday night that his bowling skills, or lack thereof (he recently bowled a 129), are worthy of the Special Olympics. Naturally, a sweaty apology to Special Olympics chairman Tim Shriver was issued and the Prez is now inviting Special Olympians to the White House to bowl or shoot hoops in a no-offense-it-was-just-an-unfortunate-little-joke-hah-hah gesture.
An unexpected and sudden spotlight on the Special Olympics, an organization that for more than 40 years has served and honored those with intellectual disabilities, comes less than two weeks before the nonprofit launches a new campaign: Spread the Word to the End the Word.
The Special Olympics turn 40 this year, and in this week's Sports Illustrated, the magazine pays tribute to Eunice Kennedy Shriver by honoring her with the inaugural Sportsman of the Year Legacy Award. If you'd like to contribute to the Special Olympics, click here. Here are several stories chronicling the event.