Special Olympics 50th Anniversary
Special Olympics is celebrating its 50th
anniversary in the summer of 2018, honoring
five decades of growth since Eunice Kennedy
Shriver led the first Special Olympics Games
at Chicago’s Soldier Field in 1968.
Eunice, a sibling of President John
F. Kennedy and Senators Robert F.
Kennedy and Ted Kennedy, grew up as an
athlete and enjoyed playing sports with her
sister, Rosemary, who had an intellectual
disability. At the time, there were very
limited programs and options for individuals
like Rosemary – but Eunice recognized that sports could be a common ground to unite
people and empower those with intellectual disabilities. She believed that, if given the
same opportunities and experiences as everyone else, that they could accomplish more
than anyone ever thought possible.
She put that vision into action in 1962 by inviting young people with intellectual disabilities
to a summer day camp she hosted in her backyard. She called it “Camp Shriver.” The goal
was to explore the children’s skills in a variety of sports and physical activities. The idea took
off – and the first Special Olympics Games were held a few years later.
Today, Special Olympics serves nearly 5 million athletes in 172 countries worldwide.
Follow Chicago’s Anniversary Celebration this July!
90 Special Olympics Northern California