Special Olympics History
The story of the Special Olympics history begins in the year of 1962, Eunice Kennedy Shriver started a summer day camp for children and adults with various mental disabilities at her home in Maryland in order to explore their capabilities in various sports and and other physical activities. And from there the Special Olympics took root and were supported immediately by most all who had knowledge of the enterprise from the get go. Years later, in July of 1968, the first International Special Olympics Summer Games were held in Chicago’s historic Soldier Field. And there, more than 1,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities from twenty-six U.S. states and Canadian provinces competed in track, field and swimming competitions as the crowd took delight in watching the various sports..
This event then garnered further public interest and caused the U.S. Olympic Committee to recognize the organization and give the Special Olympics official approval as one of only two groups authorized to use the name “Olympics” in the United States. And from there games were on in a big way. Later, in 1977, Steamboat Springs, Colorado hosted the 1st International Special Olympics Winter Games with more than 500 athletes competing as the then 3 major television networks (CBS, NBC and ABC) covered the events. And this gave the Special Olympics credibility worldwide as an understandable point of interest.
In 1981 an official “torch run” was initiated to commemorate the games. In 1986 the United Nations proclaimed that year as the International Year of Special Olympics with the title “Special Olympics, Uniting the World.” Then, throughout the years, similar accolades were bestowed upon the now esteemed series of games that feature the mentally and physically challenged participating in the Special Olympics.