Chicago welcomed Special Olympics athletes, families, friends and supporters to the birthplace of the global movement. More than 24 countries were represented for five days of soccer competitions, family activities, a star-packed concert and the Law Enforcement Torch Run that culminated in the lighting of the Eternal Flame of Hope at Soldier Field.

Two years ago, when Special Olympics programs were asked where they wanted to celebrate the 50th, they unanimously responded—Chicago. They wanted to come back to where it began when a young Anne McGlone Burke, now an Illinois Supreme Court Justice, had the idea of organizing a track meet which became the first games.

At the time, Anne was a physical education instructor with the Chicago Park District and worked with children who had disabilities. With support from Mayor Richard J. Daley, she contacted the Eunice Kennedy Shriver and their partnership led to the creation of Special Olympics.

Learn how you can get involved here.

50th Anniversary Activities

The anniversary activities kicked off with the first-ever Special Olympics Unified Cup presented by Toyota. 24 countries sent top men and women athletes-with and without intellectual disabilities-to compete in this groundbreaking sports event.

On the date of the first games in 1968, more than 400 law enforcement officers and Special Olympic athletes participated in the traditional Law Enforcement Torch Run. The torch is carried to light the Eternal Flame of Hope at Soldier Field.

More than 10,000 families and friends filled Soldier Field for the Global Day of Inclusion activities. Surrounding Soldier Field were outdoor fitness classes, sports clinics, amusement rides and special guests. This day was certainly one to remember.

A sellout crowd packed Northerly Island in a world-class six hour concert focused on inclusion featuring Chance the Rapper, Usher, O.A.R, Jason Mraz, Daya and many others. Thank you to all who made this celebration possible.