Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, alum of the Special Olympics, spoke at the 2015 opening ceremony on Saturday night.
Watch the speech here:
Here is the full transcript:
*"I've been asked to talk about courage. But [I can't talk about courage] without talking about fear. Before I had the chance to be an All-American running back at Port Arthur High School in Texas, before I had the chance of winning a national championship at the University of Texas and attaining academic honors, before I had the chance to become a professional athlete All-Pro running back in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs, before all those wonderful moments, I was afraid. I was lost. *
*"When I was a boy, I had trouble reading. I found out I had a learning disability. People made fun of me. They said I would never go anywhere. But I learned I can fly. *
*"When I was 10 years old, I had a chance to compete in the Special Olympics. That's right; the Special Olympics gave me my first chance to discover the talent I did not know I had. When I competed in the Special Olympics, I found out just how fast I was. I stood high on the podium, getting the gold medal in track and field. And when I found out how fast I was, I was blessed with a new company. The company turned to courage, the courage [to be] the best I can be every day. Now, once again I am proud to take the athlete oath in the part of every Special Olympics. *
"My fellow athletes, those here with me on stage and those thousands in front of me around the world, I invite you to say the oath with me. 'Let me win. But if I can not win let me be brave in attempt.'"
Charles elaborated on the experience and what the Special Olympics have meant to him on his own website here: