It was an unfortunate choice of words that Americans use all too often without realizing the effect.
"He expressed his disappointed and he apologized in a way that was very moving. He expressed that he did not intend to humiliate this population," Shriver said Friday on ABC's "Good Morning America."
"I think it's important to see that words hurt and words do matter. And these words that in some respect can be seem as humiliating or a put down to people with special needs do cause pain and they do result in stereotypes."
The Special Olympics means a lot to families with children with special needs.
Ask Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Her youngest child, Trig, is diagnosed with Down Syndrome.
What's it mean to her?
Sitting next to daughter Piper and holding her son Trig, Palin said, "Special Olympics is going to be a big part of his and our future."
"Thanks to Special Olympics, we know that Trig is going to have every opportunity to enjoy sports and competition that all of our other children have," she said. "I don't have to worry that he's going to be on the sidelines. When he wants to be in the game, he'll have the opportunity to gain confidence, to have fun, meet new friends and learn new skills."
Referencing an old campaign line, Palin asks, "You know what the difference is between a hockey Mom and a Special Olympics hockey Mom? Nothing."
"We're going to cheer him on exactly like we've done for his brothers and sisters and pat him on the back after every tough loss," she went on. "We still don't know what the future holds for Trig, but for our family and for millions of other families with special children, Special Olympics gives us confidence and excitement for his future. We've got plans for this little guy and we can't wait."