Special Olympics celebrates 50th anniversary in southern Illinois


CARBONDALE, IL — Friday was a night of music and dinner for a group of very dedicated athletes.

They enjoyed a fundraiser banquet for the Special Olympics.

The national organization celebrated its 50th anniversary Friday at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Eric Baumann says the Special Olympics gave him a chance to compete in sporting events just like other young people.

The very first Special Olympics took place July 20, 1968 in Chicago. More than 1,000 athletes from 26 states and Canada took part.

The organization says in this decade, its Unified Sports program has more than 1 million participants and the number of athletes with intellectual disabilities and Unified Sports teammates has reached 5.3 million.

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