Special Olympics Powerlifting

The barbell, despite testing the physical strength, is also highlighting the athlete’s inner wish to improve, “not to make compromises”.

The Powerlifting Coaching Guide

Special Olympics coaching guides are the key source of coaching information for our volunteer coaches worldwide. The guides are written by experts in the sport who understand that people with intellectual disabilities need extra time and attention to master new skills. The guides are helpful to anyone teaching a sport but are especially valuable when coaching Special Olympics.

To get a copy of your guide. 

History of Special Olympics

How It Began

It all began in the early 1960s, when Eunice Kennedy Shriver saw how unjustly and unfairly people with intellectual disabilities were treated. She also saw that many children with special needs didn’t even have a place to play. She decided to take action.

Soon, her vision began to take shape, as she held a summer day camp for young people with intellectual disabilities in her own backyard. The goal was to learn what these children could do in sports and other activities – and not dwell on what they could not do. This vision eventually grew into the global Special Olympics.

9-20 July 1968

The 1st International Special Olympics Summer Games are held at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, USA. 1,000 people with intellectual disabilities from 26 U.S. states and Canada compete in track and field and swimming. See a slideshow about the first Games

Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver pose

Powerful Partnership. Sargent Shriver was more than Eunice Kennedy Shriver's husband. As a team, they steered Special Olympics in new directions. A new biography of Sargent Shriver written by his son Mark provides insights about the man and his long history of public service.LEARN MORE

December 1971

The U.S. Olympic Committee gives Special Olympics official approval as one of only two organizations authorized to use the name “Olympics” in the United States.  


5-11 February 1977


Steamboat Springs, Colorado, hosts the 1st International Special Olympics Winter Games. More than 500 athletes compete in skiing and skating events. CBS, ABC and NBC television networks cover the Games. See a slideshow about Special Olympics World Games

June 1981

Wichita, Kansas (USA) Police Chief Richard LaMunyon launches a Special Olympics awareness campaign that becomes the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. The Torch Run grows into the movement's largest grassroots fundraiser, raising $30 million each year. 

September 1986

The United Nations launches the International Year of Special Olympics. The theme is “Special Olympics—Uniting the World.”  

October 1987

“A Very Special Christmas,” a benefit album featuring holiday music by top rock 'n' roll performers, is released worldwide. It is produced by Jimmy and Vicki Iovine of A&M Records and Bobby Shriver, with all earnings going to Special Olympics. More than 2 million records, compact discs and cassette tapes are sold. 

February 1988

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) signs a historic agreement with Sargent and Eunice Kennedy Shriver officially endorsing and recognizing Special Olympics.  

July 1988

Special Olympics Unified Sports® is launched at the annual Special Olympics Conference in Reno, Nevada, and Lake Tahoe, California. Bowling, volleyball and softball are the first sports included. 

20-27 March 1993

The 5th Special Olympics World Winter Games are hosted in Salzburg and Schladming, Austria. These are the first World Winter Games held outside North America.  See a slideshow about Special Olympics World Games

1-9 July 1995

Several new initiatives make their debut at the 9th Special Olympics World Summer Games. These include the Host Town Program, Healthy Athletes®, and Research and Policy Symposia. In addition, for the first time, people with intellectual disabilities serve as certified officials.

January 1997

Healthy Athletes becomes an official Special Olympics initiative, providing health-care services to Special Olympics athletes worldwide. The program includes free vision, hearing and dental screening, injury prevention clinics and nutrition education. Learn about Healthy Athletes

20 July 1998

Special Olympics celebrates its 30th anniversary with the introduction of the first Sargent Shriver International Global Messengers. These 12 remarkable men and women travel the world as spokespeople for the movement over a two-year term.

Read more .

Together, We Transform Lives Through the Joy of Sport

Everyone deserves a chance at a happy and purposeful life. Yet people with intellectual disabilities face doubt, barriers, and low expectations. For many, Special Olympics is the only place where they feel like champions. Help us reach out to one more person who wants to participate. Help support the Special Olympics now!

Author: Specialolympics.org | Created: Mon May 14 00:05:37 UTC 2012 | Last Updated: Sat Mar 20 14:41:28 UTC 2021