◆ 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.
◆ 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.
◆ Special Olympics launches a training and certification
program for coaches and publishes the first Sports Skills
◆ 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.
◆ The International Olympic Committee (IOC) signs an historic
agreement officially recognizing Special Olympics.
◆ 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
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.
◆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