Special Olympics Oklahoma History

Special Olympics was founded by Eunice Kennedy
Shriver. The first International Special Olympics
Games were held in 1968 at Soldier Field in
Chicago. There are programs in all 50 states and
over 3.5 million participants in 226 Programs
from 170 countries. Special Olympics, Inc. is
a non-profit international organization located in
Washington, DC.

Oklahoma's first Special Olympics event was an
athletics competition at the University of Tulsa in
1969. In 1972, Special Olympics Oklahoma was
incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
and is governed by a state-wide Board of
Directors. Special Olympics Oklahoma is
authorized and accredited by Special Olympics,
Inc., for the benefit of citizens with intellectual
disabilities.



Mission Statement

The mission of Special Olympics is to provide
year-round sports training and athletic competition
in a variety of Olympic-type sports for 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.



The Goal

The goal of Special Olympics is for all persons with
intellectual disabilities to have the opportunity to become
useful and productive citizens who are accepted and
respected by their families, friends and in their communities.



Benefits

Athletes carry the benefits from their involvement in Special Olympics with
them in their daily lives at home, in the classroom, on the job and in the
community. Families are strengthened and the community increases its understanding, acceptance and respect of these individuals.













What is Special Olympics?












Special Olympics is a year-round program of sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics was created in 1968 by the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation. The first International Special Olympics Games were organized by Eunice Kennedy Shriver and held in 1968 at Soldier Field in Chicago. There were 1,000 athletes at that initial event; now there are 3.5 million athletes competing in 170 countries.
Special Olympics Oklahoma was started in 1969 and incorporated in 1972 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Today, Special Olympics Oklahoma benefits 9,500 athletes, and is supported by over 1,700 volunteer coaches, and thousands of sponsors, donors, and volunteers conducting more than 120 events and training clinics annually.

Special Olympics Oklahoma offers 15 official sports including traditional and Unified® sports. Competitive sports are: Alpine Skiing/Cross Country Skiing, Aquatics, Athletics, Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Equestrian, Golf, Horseshoes, Powerlifting, Snowshoeing, Speed Skating, Soccer, Softball and Volleyball. Unified Sports partners athletes with and without intellectual disabilities, of similar age and ability. Motor Activities Training Program is for individuals with severe and profound limitations. Stars of the Future program is for children 4 through 7 years old and is designed to introduce children with intellectual disabilities and their families to the Special Olympics Oklahoma family.

Competitions are conducted in the spring and fall in each of the 14 geographic areas throughout the state. Athletes then qualify to in four state-wide competitions; Winter Games (January in Norman), Summer Games (May in Stillwater), Soccer and Equestrian. World Games are held every two years, alternating between Winter and Summer Games.

Area Management Teams, from the 14 geographic areas, administer programs across the state and are comprised of volunteers who work year-round to plan, organize and conduct sports training and competition events for athletes and coaches in their area.

Participation in Special Olympics helps athletes remain physically active, while increasing their self-esteem and self-confidence. Athletes attend dances, movie nights and other activities to help develop social skills. Athletes and their families network and develop relationships with other athletes’ families, sponsors, coaches, and volunteers.

Special Olympics Oklahoma relies almost 100% on private resources to meet its annual budget. The organization invests in an annual audit of all finances. 85% of all funds directly benefit Program expenses. Special Olympics is not a United Way agency. Special Olympics Oklahoma is dependent on private gifts from individuals, corporations, associations, private foundations, and other sources.

Everyone benefits from participating in Special Olympics Oklahoma. Athletes carry the benefits from their involvement in Special Olympics with them in their daily lives at home, in the class room, on the job and in the community. Families are strengthened and the community increases its understanding, acceptance and respect of these individuals.

Be a fan of unity, acceptance, empowerment, dignity, courage, strength, pride, confidence and fun. Be a fan of Special Olympics.
"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."
Special Olympics Oath.
Special Olympics Oklahoma develops and administers a year-round sports training and competition program throughout Oklahoma for more than 9,500 athletes ages 8 years and above.
Programs across the state are administered by Area Management Teams, from 14 geographic areas, comprised of volunteers who work year-round to plan, organize and conduct sports training and competition events for athletes and coaches in their area.
Special Olympics athletes are divisioned by age, gender and ability level, designed to give each athlete a reasonable chance to win.
Physical, social and psychological development
Improved physical fitness and motor skills
Greater self-confidence
Positive self-image
Friendships and increased family support
Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in attempt.
                                 Special Olympics Oath
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Created by the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation. Authorized and Accredited by Special Olympics, Inc., for the Benefit of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities.  © 2009 Special Olympics Oklahoma    Contact:  918-481-1234
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