The mission of Special Olympics Ohio is to provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.
Special Olympics contributes to the physical, social, and psychological development of the athletes. Through successful experiences in sports, they gain confidence and build a positive self-image which carries over into the classroom, home, job and community.
The concept of Special Olympics began in the early 1960s when Eunice Kennedy Shriver started a day camp for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The first national meet was held at Soldier Field in Chicago in 1968 for 1,000 athletes from the United States and Canada. Shortly thereafter, Ohio began a Special Olympics program under the name of the Ohio Athletic Association. Special Olympics Ohio became incorporated in 1975. Today, there are Special Olympics programs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 150 different countries around the world.