The athletes are all lined up to race. A handful from each county, with their hometown flag across their chest. The sound of the gun rings in their ears, and they push off and take off running with the smell of gunpowder filling their nose. The crowd roars and it is just a mix of colors and faces. Everyone is looking at them, cheering for them. The games is so much more than competing though. Many think that the special olympics has no benefits for the athletes and is just fun, but that is not the case. The athletes and community grow physically emotionally, and with their medical finances.
In 1968, Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded an organization many know as The Special Olympics (SO). This is a non-profit organization established to provide children and adults with any intellectual disability sports training and competition opportunities. It started as as summer day camp for children with any intellectual disability (ID); “the children” could go to her backyard and participate in many sports games free of charge to the athletes or the athletes’ families. Not only did she set the foundation of the games but also the volunteerism that takes place in the games. There were about fifty athletes at the camp and fifty volunteer high school students as well! Although it was not until December of 1971 that The Olympics allowed “special olympics” to use their name, she continued to advocate for the athletes (Diacin).
Now, the Special Olympics has over three million athletes participating from 185 nations. The games are much like the originals Olympics. They have been held all over the world, and are held every four years. Anyone who is certified as medically qualified, with an intellectual disability that ha...
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...meone with an ID, and will use that in their practice. It is also helpful because more research is being done to help the athlete get as healthy as possible (“Special Olympics”).
There are many benefits to the Special Olympics such as the connects the athletes make with coaches, volunteer, and other athletes that many people think are the only benefits. There is so much more offered than just an emotional or “15-seconds-of-fame” mindset that many people in the community have. The athletes are not only growing and understanding themselves, the family is growing to understand them also. And the athletes can take advantage of the free health-care, and job potentials, which can relieve family financial stress. There is obviously much more to the special olympics than what is on the surface, and that is why they have so many sponsors and supporters (“Serving Athletes”).
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