The Legacy of Eunice Kennedy Shriver



Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded Special Olympics in 1968, with the first international Special Olympics Games at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. Her son, Dr. Timothy P. Shriver, is currently the Chairman of the Special Olympics International Board of Directors. Mary Davis currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer. The Special Olympics International Board of Directors is comprised of a range of leaders in sports, business, entertainment and government. 



Eunice Kennedy Shriver (founder of Special Olympics) smiling sitting next to Beau (President of SOCT).

Special Olympics Through The Years

Black and white image of Eunice Kennedy Shriver teaching a young female and male athlete


Connecticut sends three athletes to the very first Special Olympics Summer Games at Soldier Field in Chicago. A thousand athletes from 26 states and Canada participate and compete in track & field, swimming and floor hockey.

Black and white image of someone holding a male athlete's arm in the air as he forms a


The University of Connecticut hosts the first Connecticut Special Olympics Summer Games with 800 participants. 

Gold, silver, and bronze medals with red Special Olympics ribbons attached placed on a table.


Connecticut Special Olympics, Inc. is formed with an executive committee. The U.S. Olympic Committee gives Special Olympics official approval as one of the only two organizations authorized to use the name “Olympic” in the United States.

Athlete wearing white pants and a blue winter jacket skiing in the snow.


Connecticut sends a team to the first International Special Olympics Winter Games in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. More than 500 athletes compete in skiing and skating events.

Eunice Kennedy Shrive wearing a yellow skirt and top standing outside with a man wearing a blue shirt.


Connecticut Special Olympics opens its first state office, led by its first full-time Executive Director.