Obama came out to a standing ovation and then said, "I am here tonight to honor a remarkable woman."
A heartfelt video then played, featuring children sharing their first-person stories of how their intellectual disabilities negatively affected their lives. Children spoke about "getting shoved in lockers" at school, just because they were different.
The video explained how at the time when she began her crusade for acceptance, those with intellectual disabilities were institutionalized and marginalized. First, she began Camp Shriver in 1960 as a place for all types of children to compete, then as it grew, she dreamed of something bigger -- the Special Olympics.
Shriver's son Timothy, who now serves as chair for the organization, accepted the award on his mother's behalf and was joined by a handful of Special Olympians.
"Our mother would have loved you," he told Obama. "She would have been so honored that you are here for her tonight, as we all are."
He then thanked the "leader of our family."
"You can just imagine Arthur Ashe and Eunice Shriver," he said. "Both committed to inclusion ... the two of them, what an extraordinary team in heaven inspiring us still."
He closed by saying that Special Olympians "deserve the same glory as any other athlete competing in this world!"
"This movement she created over 50 years is not done yet," he said. "Remove the blinders, remove the fear ... see the person you are afraid of. See each other."