History of the Special Olympics

The history of the Special Olympics has its origins with a special and motivated individual. The Special Olympics was started in 1968 by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver through a system of camps for people with intellectual disabilities. By the time the first Special Olympic Summer Games were held in Soldier Field in Chicago on July 19th 1968 over 40 camps for the mentally impaired had been organized. It all started by an oath, “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”, spoken by Eunice Shriver at the opening ceremonies in Chicago. This oath is still recited today in Special Olympic ceremonies. The vision was to create a sense of pride and achievement for those with mental disabilities through competition worldwide and just like the Olympics, they compete for metals: Gold for 1st place, Silver for 2nd place and Bronze for 3rd place. This history is rich with the story of love and compassion for a people less fortunate.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver Passed away on August 11th 2009, however her legacy will live on in history as the special Olympics founder. Feb 5th in 1977 would mark the beginning of the first International Special Olympic Winter Games Hosted by the United States in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. In December of 1971 The US Olympics Committee officially authorized the use of the name “Special Olympics” however it would be 1988 before the IOC(International Olympic Committee) would officially recognize and endorse the Special Olympics as one of its own.

List of Sports played in Special Olympics:

1. Alpine Skiing
2. Aquatics
3. Badminton
4. Basketball
5. Bocce
6. Bowling
7. Cricket
8. Cross Country Skiing
9. Cycling
10. Equestrian
11. Figure Skating
12. Floor Hockey
13. Gymnastics
14. Golf
15. Handball
16. Judo
17. Kayaking
18. Netball
19. Power lifting
20. Roller Skating
21. Sailing
22. Snowboarding
23. Snowshoeing
24. Soccer
25. Softball
26. Speed skating
27. Table Tennis
28. Tennis
29. Volleyball