Nancy O’Dell & Maria Shriver Bike For Best Buddies

September 14, 2011


Standing strong in the face of adversity, Maria Shriver and her children biked for charity over the weekend, raising money for the nonprofit Best Buddies — and our own Nancy O’Dell was part of Team Maria!

The Eighth Audi Best Buddies Challenge — which saw cyclers riding 100 miles from Carmel, CA to Hearst Castle — was a huge success, raising approximately four-and-a-half million dollars. Maria’s team of 120 riders, including her children Katherine, Patrick and Christopher alongside Nancy O’Dell and Teri Hatcher, brought in nearly $400,000 for the cause.

“I think there’s different versions of strength,” says Maria, “and so I just try to get up every day, and some days it’s harder than others. And you just try to conduct yourself in a way that you can look in the mirror and feel that you’re doing the best you can, and try to set an example for yourself and your children, and then that’s the best you can do. Some days strength is vulnerability, some days strength is strength — some days classy is staying in bed,” she adds with a laugh.

Created by Maria’s brother Anthony Shriver, Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

It’s no surprise that Anthony and Maria devote so much of their lives to helping those less fortunate. It was a lesson taught by their mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who created the Special Olympics, and their father, Sargent Shriver, who established the Peace Corps.

“My parents really stressed it,” says Maria. “All of our vacations were about service, so they really walked their walk and they had the belief that you’re never too young or too old to be of service.”

Now, Entertainment Tonight is now even more involved with Best Buddies, having hired Oliver, a “Best Buddy” person with intellectual disabilities who wants to become a director.

“I’m so glad that Entertainment Tonight has hired a person with intellectual disabilities, a Best Buddy, and we’re trying to get so many other corporations and businesses to do the same, so ET, you’re leading the way!” says Maria.

For more information on Best Buddies, go to

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