History – Special Olympics International

history


Special Olympics has grown from a backyard camp into a global movement that allows people with an intellectual disability to achieve their personal best through sport.


Special Olympics started as a backyard camp and grew into a global movement that has been transforming the lives of people with an intellectual disability for over 40 years

The Special Olympics movement was pioneered by the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver whose sister Rosemary had an intellectual disability. Mrs Shriver knew first-hand that people with an intellectual disability were far more capable and deserving then people thought. So, in 1962 she invited 75 children with an intellectual disability into her backyard offering them a chance to explore their talents through sport.

Called Camp Shriver, this backyard activity soon turned into 40 camps across the US. Today, Mrs Shriver’s work spans the globe. On a worldwide basis, Special Olympics now serves over four million athletes in more than 170 countries with a volunteer network delivering over 44,000 competitions annually.

 

Special Olympics Australia is a not-for-profit organisation which was established in 1976.

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