About Special Olympics
The Special Olympics concept was born in the early 1960's when Eunice Kennedy
Shriver started a day camp for people with mental challenges. Mrs. Shriver
witnessed the great joy campers experienced when playing sports and resolved to
create a program which would both meet physical fitness needs and boost
self-esteem. Under her direction, the First Special Olympics Games were held at
Soldier field in Chicago, IL July 19-20, 1968. The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.
Foundation and the Chicago Park District hosted the historic event which saw
1,000 athletes from 26 states and Canada compete in track and field, and
For more than 30 years, millions of children and adults with mental challenges
have participated in Special Olympics events. Around the world, there are
Special Olympics programs in more that 150 countries and in all 50 states in
this country. Over 15,000 Games, meets and tournaments in both summer and winter
sports are held each year in communities worldwide. Chapters hold games
annually, while national programs hold game annually or biannually. World Games
take place every two years, alternating between winter and summer sports.
We offer over 19 different competitive sports for all levels of ability. Our
3,000 Special Olympics athletes practice and compete year-round in 81
communities across the state. Special Olympics Nebraska is about providing our
athletes the opportunity to shine and express the very special gifts they have
within! There are currently more than 6,000 volunteers across Nebraska that make
it all happen for our athletes -- and we can always use more since our number of
athletes continue to grow every year.