When Eunice Kennedy-Shriver envisioned Special Olympics in her Maryland backyard in the early 1960’s, she did not know it would lead to an international organization serving more than 3.7 million children and adults in 170 countries. What she did know is that men, women and children with mental retardation had the right to compete, to grow and to learn like everyone else.
On July 20, 1968 the first Special Olympics Games were held at Soldier Field in Chicago. Today, Special Olympics Indiana provides year-round sports training and competition in 20 Olympic-type sports for more than 11,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
In March of 2005, the Ripley, Ohio, Dearborn counties program was formed by a group of individuals and parents who believed in the Special Olympics movement. Today, the program serves more than 207 children and adults with intellectual disabilities; providing year-round sports training and competition in 13 Olympic-type sports.