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Kildare > Special Olympics 2003 > Background

Special Olympics 2003 WebsiteABOUT THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS 2003


It was in the early 1960’s that Eunice Kennedy Shriver first started a day camp for the mentally challenged. This day camp was the beginning of what is now a worldwide sports event, the Special Olympics Games. In 1968 1,000 athletes from 26 states in the US and Canada competed in the 1st International Games. Since then nearly one million athletes are now training and competing in more than 140 countries.

The 11th Special Olympics World Summer Games will be held in Ireland this year.
This is the first time this major event will be held outside of the United States and it will be the largest sporting event in the world this year.

The World Games will take place from 20th - 29th June 2003
The Host Town Programme runs from 16th - 20th June 2003

The Opening Ceremony will take place on Saturday 21st June 2003 at Croke Park.

The Sports at the games include Aquatics, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Cycling, Equestrian, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Powerlifting,
Rollerskating, Sailing, Softball, Table Tennis, Tennis, Team Handball, and Volleyball. The three Demonstration Sports of kayaking, judo and pitch & putt will also be part of the competition.

Over 7,000 Athletes will take part in the games from 160 countries with
3,000 Coaches and Official Delegates. The games will be assisted by 30,000 volunteers.

The 2003 Games will be the largest sporting and cultural event ever staged in Ireland.

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