Talk at IMG Headquarters

"By comparison to IMG, dollar-wise, we’re small, even tiny. Our annual income is only $100,000,000. But we’re efficient. With that $100,000,000 we reach and serve 1,000,000 athletes"
Cleveland, OH • September 29, 1994

Mark McCormack
Bob Kain
Peter Smith
Peter Kuhn


Ever since Jean-Claude Killy and your Chairman, Mark McCormack, came to visit me in Paris when I was our Ambassador to France long ago I have wanted to come to Cleveland and see the Headquarters of the most remarkable and successful and unique sports marketing organization in the world.

Finally, I’m here. I’ve made the top! I’m happy, happy most of all, because I believe the timing is absolutely right.


Because Special Olympics is also at the top...and like IMG we’re not only at the top, we are growing, and growing and growing. There’s almost no limit to the size we can and will achieve.

Let me be specific and explicit.

  1. Special Olympics world-wide. We operate now in 140 countries. We are growing everywhere.
  2. We’re big. 1,000,0000(+) athletes are now enrolled in Special Olympics. By 1999 we expect to have 1,500,000 athletes in 150 countries.
  3. We authorize, manage, and oversee all of our 22 sports. No other sports organization controls all these different sports in all these different nations. Yes, we make our own rules in all these sports, adapting when necessary the ordinary rules to fit the needs of our athletes.
  4. We are the only sports organization fully authorized by the International Olympic Committee, including the right to use the word “Olympics” in our title.
  5. By comparison to IMG, dollar-wise, we’re small, even tiny. Our annual income is only $100,000,000. But we’re efficient. With that $100,000,000 we reach and serve 1,000,000 athletes...ergo $100 per athlete!!! The lowest cost per athlete of any sports organization. How is this possible? It’s possible because we have 500,000 Volunteers working day in and day out, everywhere.
  6. What does that mean? Specifically? It means, just as one example, that we will stage World-Wide Summer Games next July at Yale University in Connecticut for 7,000 athletes, 3,000 coaches, 1,000 Visiting Celebrities, and 750,000 spectators, at a cost of less than $35,000,000!!!
  7. How is this possible? Because of our immense number of Volunteers! 50,000 will be working at our 1995 Games in Connecticut at no cost to us!!!
  8. These Volunteers include coaches, medical doctors, dentists, accountants, lawyers, truck drivers, bus drivers, university officials, state and government officials, employees, and family members. Yes: -- even the President of the United States, and Cabinet Members, Ambassadors from 30 or more countries, a dozen or more Heads of State, 100 Cabinet officials from every continent, will be at our Opening Ceremonies, -- at no cost to us!!
  9. In January 1995, even the United States Mint will be issuing a silver dollar coin, actual currency, not just a commemorative medal, to honor and memorialize this World-Wide sports event. And on that coin will be the face of a living American citizen -- the first time in our 200 years of history that a living person has ever been so honored.
  10. My friends, Special Olympics is truly amateur sports. No coaching fees...No entrance fees. Moreover, we’re not nationalistic. We play no national anthems. We wave no national flags. We compute no numbers of medals by nations. Instead we are pure, pure sports. No wonder they call us The Special Olympics.

What difference does all this mean, possibly, to you? To your business, to your reputation, to your future?

Here are a few thoughts for your consideration:

Because Special Olympics is the only, world-wide, multi-sports, amateur, organization, you could join with us and get off your backs the multitude of local charitable enterprises which always beseech you with requests to give all of them a slice of the proceeds from every event you manage or control everywhere.

Since Special Olympics is everywhere and respected everywhere, you could capitalize on that relationship in signs, brochures, and advertising everywhere. “Coca-Cola” brags that it’s the same everywhere that it tastes the same, pleases everyone the same good way, everywhere. Why shouldn’t IMG and its clients present the same good image, the same generous, humanistic, sports image everywhere and to everyone?

Did you notice that Procter & Gamble spends $300,000,000 annually for advertising? With Special Olympics you could be advertising your company, and your “stars”, and your competence, everywhere; for ten times less than P&G spends!!!

Finally, your athletes already know and like Special Olympics. Of the “top ten” athletes in America listed in your latest monthly publication, I noticed you represent four. Of that same “top ten” seven work with Special Olympics.... for no pay whatsoever.

I could go on and on. But I’ve already talked too long, I fear.

So, with thanks for Mark McCormack and to all of you, just let me say “thanks”. Yours is a great company, a unique company. I wish you success in all you do during the years ahead.

Many thanks.

Peace requires the simple but powerful recognition that what we have in common as human beings is more important and crucial than what divides us.
Sargent Shriver
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