Look how far we've come. Let's see how far we can go—together.

2022 marks a very special year for Special Olympics Wisconsin. 50 years ago, we set out to create a more accepting world for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID).

Our start in 1972 began soon after the global movement was born that now includes more than 5 million athletes in 172 countries. Our state’s proximity to the genesis of Special Olympics, Inc., is also noteworthy.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of Special Olympics and sister of President John F. Kennedy, initiated the movement when she held the first Special Olympics International Summer Games at Soldier Field in Chicago on July 20, 1968. Kennedy Shriver’s sister Rosemary lived most of her life at St. Coletta of Wisconsin in Jefferson and her life with an intellectual disability and is often credited as inspiring the creation of Special Olympics. The first Wisconsin state event took place in West Allis in 1969, just a year after those first Special Olympics Games in Chicago. Three years later in February 1972, Special Olympics Wisconsin (SOWI) incorporated as an accredited program of the international movement.

Now, SOWI is one of Wisconsin’s premier sports organizations, providing opportunity and support to athletes with intellectual disabilities. SOWI empowers individuals with ID to experience the hard work, thrill, excitement and satisfaction of being an athlete through sports, health, education and leadership. Through our successful 50-year history of eliminating barriers and providing inclusive opportunity, SOWI is a leader in the community and the Authority of Inclusion.

#SOWI50 #inclusion 

#SOWI50 Events

Follow along with the action as we celebrate SOWI’s 50th Anniversary

June 4 Team Wisconsin Send-off Celebration:
Special Olympics USA Games 2022
June 5-12 Team Wisconsin at
Special Olympics USA Games 2022
Orlando, Fla.
June & July Law Enforcement Commemorative Torch Run Final Leg Statewide
July 26 Unified Soccer Series:
Union Omaha v. Forward Madison
July 29-31 Special Olympics Wisconsin
Celebration Games




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