World Games Expand the Movement

Early on, Eunice recognized the need for a platform to reach the larger public and mobilize people of influence around the movement. Although Special Olympics was growing incrementally and steadily in local communities changing real lives through year-round training and competitions, she wanted to get the word out faster, change public opinion faster. Thus, was born World Games.

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Eunice Kennedy Shriver shares some time with the basketball team from Cooley High School at the Third International Special Olympics Summer Games in Los Angeles, California, USA.
1979 World Games .jpg
Eunice celebrates with the more than 3,500 athletes from 20 nations who participated in the Fifth International Special Olympics Summer Games in Brockport, New York, USA in 1979.
1983 World Games.jpg
Eunice awards the gold medal to the winning soccer team from Chile in 1983 before a crowd of 60,000 fans in Tiger Stadium at the Sixth International Special Olympics Summer Games in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA.
1985 World Games.jpg
Eunice, along with Olympic Skiing Silver Medalist Billy Kidd and an athlete from Utah, declare the opening of the Third International Special Olympics Winter Games in Park City and Salt Lake, Utah, USA in 1985.
1987 World Games.jpg
Eunice takes a moment to congratulate one of 4,700 athletes from 70 countries competing at the Seventh International Special Olympics Summer Games in South Bend, Indiana, USA. U.S. TV network ABC featured on the first-ever primetime broadcast of a Special Olympics event.
1995 World Games.jpg
Eunice congratulates Troy Rutter of Pennsylvania, USA, who won the inaugural marathon for Special Olympics with a winning time of 2:59.18 hours at the World Summer Games in New Haven, Connecticut.
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The other national participant from 1968, Canada, welcomes Eunice and the 1,450 athletes from 73 nations at the Sixth Special Olympics World Winter Games in Toronto, Canada in 1997.
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Almost 7,000 athletes representing 150 nations participate in the Tenth Special Olympics World Summer Games in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA in 1999.
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Eunice congratulates members of a floor hockey team from Turkmenistan who were among 1,500 athletes participating in the Third International Special Olympics World Winter Games in Anchorage, Alaska, USA in 2001.
2003 World Games.jpg
In 2003, Ireland became the first nation outside the United States to host a Special Olympics World Games, welcoming 6,500 athletes from 150 nations who competed in 20 sports.
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Nagano, Japan, the site of the 1992 Olympic Games, became the first-ever Olympic site to host a Special Olympics World Games. Approximately 1,800 athletes represented 84 nations at the Eighth Special Olympics World Winter Games in 2005.
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Eunice thanks some of the 40,000 volunteers who supported the Twelfth Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, China in 2007, which was seen by billions of viewers around the world.