Special Olympics Celebrates 50 Years

David SpearsThe Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities congratulates the Texas Special Olympics athletes for their outstanding performance at this year’s Games. The 2018 Special Olympic USA Games were held in Seattle July 1-6. A complete list of the 2018 Texas Team can be found at Special Olympics Texas.

The Games showcase the abilities of athletes with intellectual disabilities, promotes the ideals of acceptance and inclusion through sports, and celebrates the transformative power of Special Olympics. ESPN reported Team Texas played tenacious defense winning the gold in the women’s traditional basketball competition. Event images from the law enforcement torch run to the closing ceremony can be found at the Special Olympic USA Games website.

Special Olympics at 50 is a new display at the Smithsonian Institution highlighting how athletics have helped to dramatically change the lives of people with intellectual disabilities over the last 50 years. The display “Special Olympics at 50” was unveiled this month at the National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. just as the international sporting movement is celebrating a half-century.

“Founded at a time when people with intellectual disabilities (ID) were often institutionalized or hidden away, Special Olympics changed attitudes about the abilities and talents of children and adults with ID — giving them the chance to train their bodies, build confidence, meet new people and share skills through sports,” the Smithsonian said.

Located in the museums “of note case,” the exhibit showcases how Eunice Kennedy Shriver evolved a backyard camp for young people with intellectual disabilities into Special Olympics, which hosted its first international games in 1968 in Chicago.

The Smithsonian display also features the stories of four well-known Special Olympics athletes — Marty Sheets, Ricardo Thornton, Loretta Claiborne and Lee Dockins — with a pennant, jersey, medal and other mementos from the athletes’ experiences at various games over the decades.

In addition, visitors can engage with the exhibit by jumping between agility lines and see the height of the uneven parallel bars, Smithsonian officials said.

The Special Olympics display will be on view through June 2019.

David Spears is a member of the Workforce Solutions Navigator team for the Texas Gulf Coast Region. Combining training and education to real world examples, David brings personal and professional experience with disabilities to the table in order to help job seekers with disabilities realize their potential. David has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration with over 20 years of experience in the business world.



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