Special Olympics 50th Anniversary

28th March 2018

Special Olympics will celebrate its 50th Anniversary year by broadening its purpose to focus on ending discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities worldwide and creating inclusive communities.

The largest global amateur sports organization and global public health organization dedicated to serving people with intellectual disabilities, Special Olympics is pushing forward as the “Global Inclusion Movement,” advocating for greater inclusion in all aspects of life including sport, health, education, and employment. With athletes at the forefront, Special Olympics is moving from an organization for people with intellectual disabilities to a social inclusion movement led by Special Olympics athletes.

This Special Olympics 50th Anniversary campaign is engaging governments and businesses around the globe, along with top sports, entertainment, health, education, finance and media organizations. Olympics celebrity supporters are also joining the campaign for inclusion.

Celebrating 50 Years with Eye on Future

As Special Olympics celebrate its 50th Anniversary this year, a series of major events will showcase inclusion.

The Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle from July 1-6 will have the largest Unified Sports participation in Special Olympics history. Unified Sports pairs athletes with intellectual disabilities and those without on the same team. 

Then, from July 17-21, Special Olympics will return to Chicago, home of the first games in 1968, for a nearly weeklong celebration. On July 17, the first-ever Special Olympics Unified Football (Soccer) Cup tournament will begin, featuring 24 teams (eight women’s teams and 16 men’s teams) comprised of people with and without intellectual disabilities from around the globe.

Also, on July 20, Special Olympics will honor its history and celebrate its future with the dedication and lighting of the Special Olympics Eternal Flame of Hope monument outside Soldier Field.

On July 21, the first-ever Global Day of Inclusion will be held at Soldier Field, a family event open to all Chicagoans and global visitors celebrating the Special Olympics 50th Anniversary.

The focus on inclusion will be amplified globally through the Special Olympics World Games in March 2019 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The 50th Anniversary celebration will culminate in July 2019 at an event to be announced later this year.

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