The MLO Minute
Back in 1968 the Joseph P. Kennedy foundation started to lay the ground work for the first Special Olympics games held in Chicago in July 1968 at Solider Field. The idea was to show the abilities of young people with intellectual disabilities and not focus on the disability. Prior to the Special Olympics, intellectual disabilities were severely misunderstood, and citizens with disabilities did not have a chance to go to school, or become participating members of the community. They were largely hidden by family members because of the social stigma that revolved around disabled citizens. After the first Special Olympics in 1968, this prejudice and misunderstanding started to fade away.
Then, in 1970 Eunice Kennedy Shriver approached community leaders in Wilmington, Delaware to bring the games to the First State. On June 5, 1971 the first Special Olympics competition was held in Delaware at the old Wilmington High School. Nearly 100 athletes participated in track and field events. This year, the Delaware Special Olympics celebrates their 50th anniversary of the summer games on June 12th and 13th at the University of Delaware. Over the past 50 years the Delaware Special Olympics has grown from the first event with just under 100 athletes. Today, Delaware Special Olympics has more than 4,200 athletes and 500 coaches who participate in 19 sporting events.
In addition to the summer games, the Delaware Special Olympics also offers winter games by their partnership with the Pennsylvania Special Olympics, and have been attending the PA winter games since 2011. The winter games are scheduled for February 9, 2020 through February 11, 2020 in Greensburg, PA.