Aim High and Do Your Best

Loretta Claiborne has been a Special Olympics athlete since 1970. She has become a public speaker and she still competes when she can, whether it’s in bowling, track and field, figure skating or swimming. She is also thinking about trying for the next Special Olympics World Summer Games in 2015.

230x300-Loretta-Claiborne-Running

Loretta Claiborne competing in Track & Field during a Special Olympics event.

In Her Own Words

I remember the days when they told my mother that I'd never be able to learn. I remember when they told me I would never be able to graduate from high school. I was partially blind and unable to walk or talk for years; I couldn’t learn as fast as the other kids. And I still remember when they told me that was I worth nothing. 

But deep in my heart I knew I had things to offer. In 1970, I found out about Special Olympics and it opened doors for me. When I became an athlete, I saw that I had talents. People around me saw it too – and they began to treat me in a new and better way.

Then in 1972, I met a woman named Eunice Kennedy Shriver. She was like the grandmother I never had. I'll never forget the lessons she taught me -- that you can be anything you want to be if you put your mind to it. She'd tell me: never let anybody tell you what you can't do. 

She herself was an example of that because she had strength and guts. Mrs. Shriver didn’t let people tell her what to do either – and she fought for us. I believe Mrs. Shriver was chosen to have a life to serve others, even the weakest of the weak, back when no one else was helping people like me.

Mrs. Shriver believed that people with intellectual disabilities could accomplish great things. She also believed we could do things beyond sports -- like learn to be leaders and public speakers. I began to believe it too – and now I can talk and write about these things today. 

Mrs. Shriver used sports as her vehicle to show the world what people with intellectual disabilities can do. Today, millions of athletes take part in Special Olympics and it’s changing their world and changing society’s attitudes toward people with intellectual disabilities worldwide. And it started with one lady, Mrs. Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

But none of it would be possible without Eunice Kennedy Shriver telling us to aim high and do our best. That's the only thing she ever asked us to do. 


Meet the Athletes

Athletes overcome huge challenges to achieve goals.
See Slideshow ››


Speechless

Special Olympics changed her life in deep and meaningful ways.
Watch Video ››



Your Donation Matters

Special Olympics transforms athletes’ lives through the joy of sport. Help us make a difference.

DONATE TODAY»

Volunteer Near You

Volunteering with Special Olympics is fun and very rewarding, for both the athlete and the volunteer!

LEARN MORE»

Follow Us

Help us reach out to one more athlete.

Donate »

Find events near you and learn about volunteer opportunities at one of our 220 worldwide locations.

FIND A LOCATION NEAR YOU »

Videos and Photos

DifferentBarry Cairns tells what it's like to be a Special Olympics athlete.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

SpeechlessSpecial Olympics changed her life in deep and meaningful ways.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Summer GamesAround the world, months of practice are paying off.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Photos on FBSee photos and comments from our supporters around the world.See Photos »


Videos and Photos

Hope in HaitiLeo and Gedeon play in makeshift fields, tent towns, wherever they can.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Finding His VoiceDavid Egan has always dreamed big. Now look at him!Learn More »


Videos and Photos

Sport Teaches UsOur life-changing work is fueled by the power of sport.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Making SuccessDoctors said Lani is “never going to achieve anything.” Learn More »


Videos and Photos

Very Very SpecialMusic helps Special Olympics make an impact worldwide.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Around The WorldGreat photos of Special Olympics events and people.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Focus on ChangeWhat we do can't be done without our partners.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Power of SportsSports are a powerful way to change our athlete’s lives.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

What We DoSports, health, education, community and more.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Who We AreWe are athletes, families, celebs, volunteers and more.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Summer SportsOur athletes run, jump, swim and score in summer.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Playing UnifiedUnified Sports reveals strengths in every team member.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Healthier AthletesOur free health clinics are making a huge difference.Watch Video »


Videos and Photos

Deon NamisebHe's a speaker and role model. It didn't start that way in Namibia.Learn More »


Special Olympics Blog

Health Needs Need Closer Examination

"You can't compete if your feet hurt, if your teeth hurt or if your ears ache."read more »

Posted on 2014-04-07 by Ryan

go to blog »


*

Special Olympics - Become a Fan