A sellout crowd of friends and supporters packed Northerly Island Saturday for the world-class concert that featured Chance the Rapper, Usher, Francis & The Lights, Daya, Smokey Robinson, Jason Mraz, O.A.R. and Carl Thomas with videotaped greetings from Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon. Special guests included Bulls star Jabari Parker and Olympians Michael Phelps, Michelle Kwan and Hannah Teter, as well as WWE star Big Show. Those unable to get tickets for the sold-out event could watch via live streaming.
The 50th celebration was an overwhelming success thanks to the combined efforts of Special Children’s Charities/Special Olympics Chicago, Special Olympics International, Special Olympics Illinois and the 50-year partnership with the Chicago Park District.
A special thanks goes to Bank of America, Chicago Federation of Labor, CME Group, Coca Cola, Disney/ESPN, IEN/SNF, Toyota, United Airlines and numerous other corporations and individuals and the hundreds of volunteers who made the events possible.
Thanks also goes to entertainment and sports celebrities who gave their time and talent to celebrate the 50th.
The celebration may be over but our revolution for inclusion is not.
Join our Inclusion Revolution. Take the pledge:
“I pledge to look for the lonely, the isolated, the left out, the challenged and the bullied. I pledge to overcome the fear of difference and replace it with the power of inclusion.”
To learn more and support Special Olympics Chicago click here.
O.A.R. opened the packed concert
Special Olympics athletes help spread the concert’s message
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Motown legend Smokey Robinson sang many of his classics
Usher made a spectacular entrance on stage
Jason Mraz was accompanied by members of both the Richmond School of The Performing Arts and Chicago’s After School Matters non-profit and Special Olympics athletes
Chicago’s own Chance the Rapper capped the six-hour concert
The World Celebrated With Us
While the celebration focused on events in Chicago, 225 countries around the world joined the celebration by lighting up red landmarks in tribute to Special Olympics’ birthday.
Left to right: Baku Stadium, Niagara Falls and The National Art Museum of Russia
Left to right: The Water Cube which was built for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing China, the African Renaissance Monument in Dakar, Senegal, Abu Dhabi Global Market Square and the Ca’ Farsetti Palace in Venice