• 900x500 1979 World Games Crowd

    Special Olympics in the 1970s

    An idea that started in the USA begins to spread across the globe. Stigma facing people with intellectual disabilities is slowly being replaced with respect and admiration -- on the playing fields and off.

    After just a decade, Special Olympics International Summer Games are attracting thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities from around the world. Above, founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver speaks to the crowd at the 1979 International Summer Games in Brockport, N.Y.

  • 900x 500 1977 SteamBoat Springs

    Special Olympics in the 1970s

    An idea that began in the USA begins to spread across the globe. Stigma facing people with intellectual disabilities is slowly being replaced with respect and admiration -- on the playing field and off.

    The Special Olympics mission is to showcase the talents and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities everywhere, every day, every season. Here, founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver and husband Sargent Shriver preside over the first International Winter Games.

A Joyful New Movement Gains Momentum

Nearly 3,200 athletes took part in the 4th Special Olympics International Summer Games, held in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. Athletes from 10 nations competed in basketball, bowling, floor hockey, gymnastics, the pentathlon, swimming and many other events. Global competition featuring athletes with intellectual disabilities begins to attract coverage by major media, including CBS Sports. Here's a glimpse into the 1975 Games.

Next: The 1980s

From the U.N. to the I.O.C., Special Olympics gains recognition as the premier sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities all around the world. Read about Special Olympics in the 1980s