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History of Special Olympics

1960s: The Beginning of a Worldwide Movement

The Special Olympics movement was initiated by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of the former United States President John F. Kennedy, in the early 1960’s when she was working with people diagnosed with intellectual disability. Here Mrs. Shriver realized that people with intellectual disability were far more capable in sports and physical activities than many experts believed possible.
This led her to organize a day camp for people with Intellectual disabilities at her home. For 40 years Special Olympics has been changing lives and attitudes around the World

2001: The Beginning of Special Olympics Nigeria

Special Olympics Nigeria took off in January 2001. She held her formal launch on Tuesday 6th December, 2005 at the sports complex of the University of Lagos, Akoka. The purpose of the launch was to bring Special Olympics opportunities to individuals with intellectual disabilities in the Nigerian society. It introduced Special Olympics Nigeria to the Nigerian society by displaying the abilities possessed by its athletes to break the barrier of cultural inhibitions as regards the issue of intellectual disability in the Nigerian society.

Today: Building an Inclusive World

Today, Special Olympics Nigeria is spread across 23 states in 4 out of the 6 geopolitical zones of the country – South West, South East, South South, North Central and North West with over 24, 000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities participating in year round training and competition in 10 Olympic-type Sports; Soccer (Football), Basketball, Aquatics (Swimming), Athletics, Badminton, Table-tennis, Cycling, Floor Ball, Floor hockey, and Volleyball. As a Non -profit organisation Special Olympics does not charge a fee, Participation is free and open to all.