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The History of the Special Olympics

Written by Raylicia Davis on . Posted in Uncategorized

One Woman’s Vision

Eunice Kennedy Shriver believed in justice. But, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, she saw little justice in the way people with intellectual disabilities were treated.

She saw they were excluded and routinely placed in custodial institutions. They were often ignored and neglected, yet she knew they had many talents and gifts to offer.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver had a sister, Rosemary, who had an intellectual disability. She and Rosemary grew up playing sports together and with their family. The sisters swam, they sailed, they skiied, they played football together. But in those days, there were limited programs and options for someone like Rosemary.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver went on to become an athlete in college. She began to see that sports could be a common ground to unite people from all walks of life.

Black and white portrait of Eunice Kennedy Shriver
For more history and information about the Special Olympics click here.