Article written by one of our Participants- published in Voices publication 2008
Eunice Shriver Kennedy started the Special Olympics. In 1960 the very first Special Olympics games were held at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The games are widely known all over the world. Special Olympics offers a huge number of activities including tennis, basketball, golf, bocce ball, swimming, bowling, and track and field. It is an awesome experience for those who have developmental disabilities.
In 1995 Julia Roberson was head of Recreation at Lambs Farm. She submitted my name for the Illinois International Special Olympics Team. I was submitted for tennis that year. No one, including me, thought anything of it. We never expected to hear back from them. Four or five months later I received a letter that I made the team. The first thing I did was excitedly call my mom and dad. They were electrified for me and they called and amazingly got the last hotel room in Connecticut. The games lasted for an exciting two weeks. I placed third in world games for singles tennis and fifth for doubles. I was shocked; it was a monstrous sporting event that year. Over 150 countries were in attendance. The dorms accommodated people from other countries. President Clinton presided over the opening ceremony. I established friends that I still see at other Special Olympics events. Also, I was able to meet and play tennis with professional tennis players. I was also privileged enough to meet professional baseball and football players.
I would not swap my experience at the International Special Olympics that summer for anything in the world. I made friends that summer that I will never forget. The Special Olympics World Games made me a better athlete and a well-rounded person. I will always remember the awesome summer of 1995. It was the greatest experience of my entire life.
– Mike K.