The concept of Special Olympics began in the early 1960’s, when Eunice Kennedy Shriver started a day camp for people with intellectual disabilities. In 1968, Mrs. Shriver organized the First International Special Olympics Games at Soldier Field in Chicago. From Chicago, the excitement spread to South Dakota, where in 1968 the 1st Annual Special Olympics South Dakota Summer Games were held with 125 athletes participating.
1962: The concept of Special Olympics was born when Eunice Kennedy Shriver started a day camp at her home for people with intellectual disabilities. Thirty-five athletes were in attendance
1968: The First International Special Olympics Games were held in Chicago's Soldier Field. One thousand athletes from 26 U.S. states and Canada competed in athletics, floor hockey and aquatics.
1969: Through the leadership of Sioux Falls teacher Lyle Farrand, Special Olympics South Dakota was born.
1970: Team South Dakota attended its first International Games.
1977: The first International Winter Games were held in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
2003: The first World Games held outside of the USA took place in Dublin, Ireland.