History Of The Special Olympics
The history of the Special Olympics began with the start of a summer day camp for adults and children who were experiencing intellectual disabilities. This backyard summer camp was started in June 1962 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver at her Maryland home. In 1968, the first Special Olympics Summer Games was held at Chicago's Soldier Field. These Special Olympics games welcomed people with disabilities from 26 states and Canada to compete in swimming and track and field events. The history of the Special Olympics takes an important turn in December 1971--the United States Olympic Committee gave the Special Olympics official approval and authorization to use the name "Olympics." The Special Olympics is one of two organizations that are authorized to use the name.
The history of the Special Olympics becomes even more important in 1998 when they celebrated their 30 year anniversary, which was marked with the introduction of Special Olympics messengers who travelled around the world as spokespeople for the organization for the next two years. In addition, in June 2006, President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush hosted a White House dinner to honor the Special Olympics because of its phenomenal growth throughout the years. Finally, in June 2010, the Special Olympics went to Marrakech, Morocco for the Special Olympics Global Congress where they brought together important leaders who continued to plan the next five years of their important work. Sadly, founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, passed away August 2009 in her family's home in Massachusetts.