Gov. Perry Congratulates Torch Run Participants
Torch Run Kickoff Celebrates Special Olympic Spirit
*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Thank you, Margaret (Larsen, president). I am honored to be here with so many outstanding Texas athletes, to celebrate them and their commitment, along with the friends, family and volunteers who make their competition in Special Olympics possible.
I am proud to help celebrate 40 years of Special Olympics in Texas, and impressed that a tradition that began with 350 athletes competing in Waco, has grown to more than 32,000 participants across our great state.
To our first responders and friends from TDCJ who will carry these torches to the opening ceremonies in Arlington on May 22nd, know that the Flame of Hope burns brighter today than ever, because of your selfless sacrifice.
As you take part in the Torch Run, know that you are continuing a tradition that has been going strong for more than twenty five years, of people breaking a sweat, to raise awareness of a very important cause.
You can be proud...I know I am...that the Texas Torch Run has not only become one of the largest and most successful of its kind anywhere, but has also raised millions of dollars for some very deserving folks. In fact, last year, you raised more than $1 million for this worthy cause.
Your selfless efforts are another reminder that Special Olympics Texas is about more than developing athletic ability, or achieving victory on the field or court.
At their heart, these games are about encouraging athletes to train, developing confidence in their abilities, and fostering the desire to cross the finish line.
As in life, failure is never the fate of the competitor who courageously runs the race...only those who never run.
Perhaps the athlete oath says it best..."Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."
I want every athlete participating in this year's Special Olympics Texas Summer Games to know that you are more than champions, you are an inspiration to every Texan, and your state is so very proud of you.
God has given every human being a special gift, to some, swiftness; to others, strength; and to each of us, a common dignity as living beings created in the image of God.
Today, let's celebrate these exceptional Texas athletes, and their God-given gifts, and encourage every competitor to compete with the heart of the champion that lies within them.
Thank you, may God bless you, and, through you, may God continue to bless the great state of Texas. Let's go light that torch.