In 1968 the first Special Olympics Games were organized in Chicago by Anna McGlone Burke. She approached Eunice Kennedy Shriver and gained Shriver's philanthropic support.
Special Olympics Timeline.
Today this writer had the pleasure of attending the Area Five Unified Volleyball Competition held at Johnson Gym on the UNM campus. In a nutshell, New Mexico is divided into Six Areas. Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance, Valencia and Socorro are all in Area Five. Unified means there are disabled and non-disabled players on the teams together.
The atmosphere in the arena was laid back and jocular, with athletes in particular taking pleasure in their game. There was yelling. There were victory dances before matches even started. Most importantly though, the volleyball matches were filled with knuckle-biting climaxes that rivaled the third period in a'79 vintage Rangers vs. Islanders hockey game.
Check out the official Special Olympics New Mexico website and schedule here. Events are free, and everyone is welcome. Check out the Rio Rancho Area Five fundraiser t.v. spot if you haven't seen it yet.