Since the first international special Olympics Games in 1968, the Chicago Park District has partnered with Special Olympics Chicago. The first International Special Olympics Games were held on July 20, 1968 at Soldier Field in Chicago. Since then, Special Olympics Chicago has grown to serve more than 5,000 athletes, offering year-round sports training and competition in 22 sports.The Chicago Park District offers Special Olympics programming in 21 park locations throughout the city of Chicago.
The Special Olympics mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic 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 and build friendships with other Special Olympics athletes and the community. The Chicago Parks Foundation provides support for the Chicago Park District and Special Olympics partnership in order to expand the reach of these great programs and opportunities to reach all communities throughout the city.