The History of the Special Olympics

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History of the Special Olympics The Special Olympics is the world's largest sports organization and it caters to children and adults with mental disabilities. Its origins can be traced to June 1962 when Eunice Kennedy Shriver started the day camp "Eunice Camp Shriver" at her home in Potomac, Maryland. The camp was intended for children solely with intellectual disabilities. Shriver claimed she started the camp because it would provide disabled children with an area to play. Piggybacking off her camp, Shriver went on to advocate and promote the idea of competitive physical activities and opportunities for intellectually disabled individuals. Camp Shriver quickly gained fame and it went on to become an annual event. The philantrophic organisation the Kennedy Foundation (Shriver was executive vice president) provided grants to universities, schools and community centers in order for them to hold similar events. In 1968, a friend of Shriver, Rosemary Kennedy, had a lobotomy in an attempt to cure her mental illness. The lobotomy however caused severe brain damage which subsequently meant she was severely retarded. The hospitlization and difficulties which Kennedy faced later in life are frequently cited as the driving force behind a friend of Kennedy's (Eunice Shriver) decision to form the Special Olympics. Shriver however gave an interview in 1995 to the New York Times in which she refuted such claims and said that the Special Olympics was merely the product of Camp Shriver. The Special Olympics was designed to allow individuals with intellectual disabilities at different institutions around the United States a platform to compete against one another. The organization was officially founded by Shriver in 1968 and its headquarters are in Washington DC. It is also not for profit and relies heavily on the private sector for donations and from people

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