"Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt” is the official oath of the Special Olympics (athletic competitions for people with disabilities). The Special Olympics began in 1968 and the oath has been cited in print from at least August 1969. There is no information on the Special Olympics website or in any news article about who wrote the oath.
Wikipedia: Special Olympics
Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions to more than 3.7 million athletes in more than 170 countries. Special Olympics competitions are held every day, all over the world—including local, national and regional competitions, adding up to about 50,000 events a year.
Alternating between summer and winter, the Special Olympics World Games are held every two years. Often the Games are the largest sporting event to take place in the world during that year
The Special Olympics athlete’s oath is “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
Special Olympics—Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Special Olympics Athlete Oath?
“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
29 August 1969, Lowell (MA) Sun, “A Place in the Sun” by Frances Berg, pg. 4, col. 1:
A similar sort of program is apparently being held in a lot of places. Witness this summer’s “Special Olympic Program” with participants from four state schools for the mentally retarded plus two rehabilitation centers which was held at North Reading’s John T. Berry Rehabilitation Center, which serves numerous Greater Lowell youngsters.
The day began not only with the ceremonial raising of the flag, but also with the symbolic lighting of the flame and the recital of the Olympic oath..."Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
4 June 1971, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), “Retardates Vie For Top Prizes; Special Olympics Being Held at Behrman” by John Cotter, sec. 1, pg. 3, col. 1:
“Lord, let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
That is the Special Olympics oath and Thursday night at Behrman Stadium the 901 participants in the second annual Louisiana Special Olympics for the mentally retarded pledged themselves to that ideal.
21 March 1975, Marietta (GA) Daily Journal, pg. 1B, col. 1:
“Let Me Win, But If I Can Not Win,
Let Me Be Brave In The Attempt.”
-- Special Olympics Motto
Google News Archive
19 May 1975, Nevada (MO) Daily Mail, “Rest Home Visitors Clebrate Birthday” by Mrs. Eldon Sheridan, pg. 5, cols. 1-2:
The event was hosted by Maj. Gen. John G. Waggener who led the children as they repeated the Olympian oath, “Let me win, but if I cannot, let me be brave in the attempt.”
OCLC WorldCat record
“So brave in the attempt” Special olympics
Author: Jane Ellen Farrell
Publisher: Greeley : University of Northern Colorado, 1976.
Dissertation: Thesis (B.S.)--University of Northern Colorado, Division of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, 1976.
Edition/Format: Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : English
Google News Archive
13 November 1976, Milwaukee (WI) Sentinel, “Badger Punch Favored to Deck Hoosiers” by Mike Christopulos, pt. 2, pg. 1, col. 2:
Bloomington, Ind.—There’s a sign in the spacious ofice of Indiana Football Coach Lee Corso that reads: “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
OCLC WorldCat record
Brave in the attempt : the special Olympics experience
Author: Vicki Cobb
Publisher: Berryville, VA. : Pinwheel Publishers, 1983.
Edition/Format: Book : English
Summary: “Brave In The Attempt is an intimate look in moving text and compelling photos at the athletes, coaches, parents and volunteers who made the International Summer Special Olympics in Baton Rouge a triumph of human spirit."-back cover.
New York City • Sports/Games • (1) Comments • Friday, August 10, 2012 • Permalink