The first International Games are held outside the USA, as Special Olympics gains a greater global foothold. New health programs mark a turning point as well.
Milestones of the 1990s
20-27 March 1993
Opening Ceremony at the 5th Special Olympics International Winter Games in Schladming, Austria. These Games -- hosted in both Schladming and Salzburg -- are the first International Games held outside the USA.
The 1993 International Winter Games in Austria set national records for media coverage. These Games also marked the first time a head of state took part in Opening Ceremony.
1-9 July 1995
Several new initiatives make their debut at the 9th Special Olympics World Summer Games in New Haven, Conn., USA. 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.
A glimpse of the record-breaking crowd at Opening Ceremony for the 1995 World Summer Games at the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Conn. US President Clinton was on hand to open the Games.
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. The Healthy Athletes program has provided more than 1.7 million free health examinations in more than 130 countries since its creation in 1997.
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 rights and respect for people with intellectual disabilities over a two-year term.
17 December 1998
U.S. President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton host “A Very Special Christmas from Washington, D.C.” It's the first time the White House hosts a Special Olympics gala and the first time that artists from “A Very Special Christmas” album series gather together to perform. In 2000, President and Mrs. Clinton host “A Very Special Christmas” for the second time.