The Special Olympics was founded in 1968 in Chicago by Anne McGlone Burke, a physical education teacher with the Chicago Park District, with the support of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister of President John F. Kennedy. Burke began with the idea for what was originally supposed to be a one-time Olympic-style athletic competition for kids with special needs. Burke then approached Shriver to fund the event. The Kennedy Foundation granted $25,000, and Shriver gathered 1,000 athletes from across the country to participate. Shriver’s sister, the late Rosemary Kennedy, had an intellectual disability due to a lobotomy, and is often credited as Shriver's inspiration to help grow the Special Olympics.
In June 1962, Eunice Kennedy Shriver had started a day camp, known as Camp Shriver, for children with intellectual disabilities at her home in Potomac, Maryland. Using Camp Shriver as an example, Shriver promoted the concept of involvement in physical activity and competition opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities. Camp Shriver became an annual event, and the Kennedy Foundation (of which Shriver was Executive Vice President) gave grants to universities, recreation departments and community centers to hold similar camps.
In 1968, the Foundation supported the Chicago Park District in holding the Olympic-style competition, which was the first International Special Olympics Games. At those Games, Shriver announced the formation of Special Olympics. The first International Special Olympics Winter Games were held in February 1977 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, USA.
In 1988, the Special Olympics was recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It is the only sports organization authorized by the IOC to use the name Olympics in its title.
On October 30, 2004, President George W. Bush signed into law the "Special Olympics Sport and Empowerment Act," Public Law 108-406. The bill authorized funding for its Healthy Athletes, Education, and Worldwide Expansion programs. Co-sponsored by Representatives Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and Senators Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Harry Reid (D-NV), the bills were passed by unanimous consent in both chambers.
The upcoming 2009 World Winter Games will be held in Boise, Idaho, USA and surrounding locations. Boise's metropolitan area and other areas of Idaho provide excellent venues and extensive volunteer support. Boise's Bogus Basin Mountain Resort as well as the famous Sun Valley, Idaho will be the two central locations for outdoor sports.
The Special Olympics Oath is "Let me win but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt"
Special Olympics USA Games Names First Founding Partner with $1 Million Pledge from the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund
Mar 28, 2012; The Organizing Committee of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games and Toys"R"Us[R] announced a $1 million commitment from the...