HISTORY OF THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS MOVEMENT
The history of the movement that is known in the international arena as "Special Olympics" was defined by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of US President John Kennedy in 1963. It all began in the sport-health camp, organised in her house for those with intellectual disabilities. Soon their football, running and swimming skills and activities attracted the attention of the world. It all caused full change in public opinion about those with intellectual disabilities.
The first International Special Olympics Summer Games are held in Chicago in 1968. In 1988 the International Olympic Committee officially recognized Special Olympics and signed an officially endorsing contract.
Special Olympic Headquarters is located in Washington, US. Sargent Shriver, husband of late founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver was the Chairman of Committee until 2010. Currently their son – Dr. Timothy Shriver continues as Special Olympics Chairman.
Special Olympic and Paralympic Committees are two different organizations. Special Olympics give an opportunity to people with intellectual disabilities to demonstrate their athletic skills at all levels. So the weak, mid and high level athletes are fighting for gold, silver and bronze medals in separate groups due to their level. Paralympic provides sports skills of only high resulted athletes with physical and mental disabilities.
Azerbaijan joined the Special Olympic movement since 1990 and operated within the Special Olympic Committee of the USSR. After Azerbaijan gained independence the first Special Olympic Committee was established at the Founding conference held on November 30, 1991. Former minister of defence and education Lydia Rasulova was elected President of the Committee, and the deputy chairman of "Labour Forces Reserve" voluntary sport community Shahin Kamosh oglu Aliyev was elected deputy chairman and executive director. Both the Special Olympics Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijan National Olympic Committee were registered by the Board of the Ministry of Justice on March 10, 1992.
The Special Olympics Azerbaijan is a member of the International Special Olympics and Europe/Eurasia Committee since 1993.
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