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The death of Eunice Kennedy Shriver
The legacy of the Kennedy sister who founded the Special Olympics
T

he world has lost a "tireless campaigner" for people with intellectual disabilities, said Britain's Daily Telegraph. Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a younger sister of the late president John F. Kennedy, died Tuesday at 88. The fifth of nine children born to Joseph and Rose Kennedy, Shriver organized the first Special Olympics in 1968. At the fifth Summer Games, in 1976, she told participants, ""What you are winning by your courageous efforts is far greater than any game. You are winning life itself."

Eunice Kennedy Shriver grew up in "a clan embraced as America's royalty," said Bryan Marquard in The Boston Globe. She stood out as the "most intellectually gifted" of Joe and Rose Kennedy's daughters—although they steered only their sons into politics. Her ambition, inspired by her developmentally disabled sister Rosemary Kennedy, helped her overcome "the constraints of her era, gender, and social strata," and she became an international leader "in the burgeoning movement to wrest mental retardation from the shadows of hushed conversations."

And what a difference she made, said Carla Baranauckas in The New York Times. Sen. Edward Kennedy, Eunice Kennedy Shriver's brother, cited as an example of her influence the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, where 80,000 spectators cheered as President Hu Jintao welcomed more than 7,000 athletes to China, a country with a history of severe discrimination against people born with disabilities. "You talk about an agent of change," Edward Kennedy said in 2007. "She is it."

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