History of Special Olympics

From a backyard summer camp for people with intellectual disabilities to a global movement, Special Olympics has been changing lives and attitudes since 1968.

1960s: The Beginning of a Worldwide Movement

The Special Olympics movement was initiated by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of the former United States President John F. Kennedy, in the early 1960’s when she was working with people diagnosed with intellectual disability. Here Mrs. Shriver realized that people with intellectual disability were far more capable in sports and physical activities than many experts believed possible.This led her to organize a day camp for people with Intellectual disabilities at her home. For over 50 years, Special Olympics has been changing lives and attitudes around the World

2010s: The Sun Never Sets on the Special
Olympics Movement

At Special Olympics, our fifth decade is all about growth. Millions of athletes are taking part in thousands of competitions every year. The sun never sets on the Special Olympics movement!

Today: Building an Inclusive World

As the movement continues to grow, the joy of Unified Sports is bringing together people with and without intellectual disabilities on every continent. We invite the world to come play with us -- and experience the transformative power of sports!

Who We Are

Special Olympics Nigeria is an affiliate of Special Olympics International, a global non-profit organization created by the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation. We change lives by driving the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities (special needs) into society.


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