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History
 
 
June 1962
     ◆ Eunice Kennedy Shriver starts a summer day camp for children and adults with intellectual disabilities at her home in Maryland to explore their capabilities in a variety of sports and physical activities.

20 July 1968
     ◆ Together with the Chicago Park District, the Kennedy Foundation plans and underwrites the First International Special Olympics Summer Games, held in Chicago's Soldier Field, with 1,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities from 26 states and Canada competing in athletics, floor hockey, and aquatics.

December 1968
     ◆ Special Olympics, Inc. is established as a not-for-profit charitable organization under the laws of the District of Columbia. The National Association for Retarded Citizens, the Council for Exceptional Children, and the American Association on Mental Deficiency pledge their support for this first systematic effort to provide sports training and athletic competition for individuals with intellectual disabilities based on the Olympic tradition and spirit.

5-11 February 1977
     ◆ The First International Special Olympics Winter Games are held in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, with more than 500 athletes competing in skiing and skating events. CBS, ABC, and NBC television networks cover the Games.

1980-1981
     ◆ Special Olympics launches a training and certification program for coaches and publishes the first Sports Skills Guide.

July 1987
     ◆ More than 30,000 law enforcement officers from every state in the U.S. and seven countries run 26,000 miles in the Law Enforcement Torch Run? for Special Olympics. The 1987 Torch Run raises more than $2 million.

February 1988
     ◆ The International Olympic Committee (IOC) signs an historic agreement officially recognizing Special Olympics.

July 1988
     ◆ Special Olympics Unified Sports® is launched at the annual Special Olympics Conference in Reno, Nevada.

20-27 March 1993
     ◆ The fifth Special Olympics World Winter Games are held in Salzburg and Schladming, Austria, with 1,600 athletes from more than 50 countries participating in five winter sports. These are the first World Winter Games held outside North America.

18-22 May 2000
     ◆ The Special Olympics China Millennium March takes place throughout China. Arnold Schwarzenegger, along with Special Olympics athletes, light the Flame of Hope at the Great Wall of China, and celebrate the Special Olympics movement with gala events in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. Special Olympics China declare they will increase the current number of Special Olympics athletes from 50,000 to 500,000 by 2004.

20-23 May 2000
     ◆ The first-ever Global Athlete Congress takes place in The Hague, The Netherlands. 60 athletes from every region of the world comes together to discuss the future of the Special Olympics movement. Despite differences in language, culture, age and gender, these athletes are able to discuss topics, challenge existing ideals and vote on new resolutions.

5-10 March 2001
     ◆ First-ever Global Youth Summit is held in conjunction with the 2001 Special Olympics World Winter Games. Thirty-four students with and without intellectual disabilities from around the world work in pairs to report on the World Games and discuss how to overcome the attitudes and stereotypes that kids with intellectual disabilities face.

21-29 June 2003
     ◆ The 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games are held in Dublin, Ireland — the first Summer Games ever held outside the United States. The world's largest sporting event for 2003 featured 7,000 athletes from more than 150 countries participating in 21 sports

26 February - 5 March 2005
     ◆  The 2005 Special Olympics World Winter Games were held in Nagano, Japan, the first time the World Winter Games were held in Asia. The Games drew more than 1,800 athletes from 84 countries, and thousands of families, volunteers, spectators and journalists from around the world. The seven sports venues included many previously used for the 1998 Winter Olympic Games.

2006
     ◆In 2006, Special Olympics held a series of ground-breaking regional competitions around the world:
         · First Special Olympics Latin America Regional Games in San Salvador, El Salvador:              25 March - 2 April
         · First Special Olympics USA National Games in Ames, Iowa: 2-7 July
         · First Special Olympics European Youth Games in Rome, Italy: 30 September - 5 October
         · First Special Olympics International Cricket Cup in Mumbai, India: 6-13 November
         · 5th Special Olympics Middle East/North Africa Regional Games in Dubai, United Arab              Emirates: 11-15 November
 
 
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