Celebrating 50 years of empowerment: 1968-2018
Since 1968, Special Olympics has been changing attitudes about the talents of people with intellectual disabilities. Since 1968, Special Olympics has been changing the world! We are excited to celebrate the movement’s 50th anniversary throughout 2018.
Help us celebrate 50 years of Special Olympics
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50 Great Moments in Special Olympics History
1978: Special Olympics NC hosts first Southeast U.S. Winter Games
In 1978, Special Olympics North Carolina held the very first Southeast U.S. Winter Games at Appalachian Ski Resort under the direction of French-Swiss Ski College’s President, Jim Cottrell, and SONC’s Director, Monty Castevens.
More than 300 athletes from six states, including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, came together to train and compete in various winter sports.
“The Southeast U.S. Winter Games was the first event of its kind and Eunice Kennedy Shriver herself came down to see the event in its third year,” said Jim. “It served as a kind of guide for Special Olympics events across the world in that time.”
To this day, Jim (left) helps run the Special Olympics Southeast U.S. Winter Games each year as even more athletes experience the joy of Alpine skiing and snowboarding.
1979: SONC gets a new logo
In 1979, SONC adopted the state logo using the Special Olympics seal along with the mountains and ocean, symbolizing the statewide program. The logo may have changed over the years, but SONC still serves athletes throughout the entire state.
1981: Twiggy Sanders hosts SONC basketball clinic
Twiggy Sanders hosts a basketball clinic for Special Olympics North Carolina athletes. The Harlem Globetrotters and NC State basketball team coached skills stations. Twiggy Sanders is named head basketball coach for SONC.
1981: SONC transitions leadership
In 1981, Alan L. Bolick becomes Executive Director of SONC, replacing Monty Castevens who leaves to join the Special Olympics International staff.
1968: First Special Olympics Games
On July 20, 1968, 1,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities competed in the first Special Olympics International Games at Soldier Field in Chicago. Six North Carolina athletes attended the 1968 Games, including Marty Sheets.
1970: First Special Olympics competition held in NC
Special Olympics North Carolina held its first Games May 29-31, 1970 in Burlington. 400 athletes and 350 chaperones and parents attended.
1971: SONC is chartered
In November 1971, North Carolina Special Olympics, Inc. is chartered in Burlington to administer the Special Olympics program in North Carolina.
1974: First SONC Games held in Raleigh
In May 1974, the Capital City Jaycees held the first North Carolina Games in Raleigh for nearly 1,400 athletes. Approximately 5,700 athletes in 42 counties compete in Special Olympics at this time.
1975: First state-level basketball competition
In November 1975, over 200 athletes met in Durham to compete in the first North Carolina Fall Basketball Games. Today, Basketball is one of the most popular sports with 95 local programs offering it and over 10,000 athletes throughout the state!
1976: First SONC address and phone number
North Carolina made it big in 1976! For the first time, Special Olympics NC has an office located at 3901 Barrett Drive in Raleigh.
1977: Seven SONC athletes attend first Special Olympics International Winter Games
Seven Special Olympics North Carolina athletes traveled to Steamboat Springs, Colorado to compete in the first international winter games.
1977: First SONC Games held in Raleigh
In 1977, the North Carolina legislature passes a bill allocating funds to Special Olympics NC for the first time. This funding would continue until 1984.