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History of the Special Olympics
Special Olympics Offer Postive Achievement
For a time, the Special Olympics Summer Games were held at Ohio State University. It was a fantastically big event supported by families, celebrities, and businesses.
As a food service manager, I was in charge of food service for hundreds of meals several ties a day for the athletes and their families. They were so happy to be at OSU and delighted to be offered food. It was hard work and fun to watch the excitement of the competitors and their loved ones.
The Special Olympics and the Paralympics give a sporting chance to people that cannot compete in the Olympic Games because of physical or mental limitations.
However, as we have found that exercise can begin to overcome some of these human obstacles, times are changing. The first male Paralympian crossed over to the Summer Olympic Games in 2012, using carbon-laded running prostheses in London UK. Although South African Oscar Pretorius did not finish at the top of the heap, he finished his races, while the crowds and athletes encouraged him.
From experience, I have seen physically and mentally challenged youth proceed into mainstream classes out of Special Education, with the help of tutors and intensive martial arts classes that exercise the brain as well as the body. A nonspeaking child began to speak in class one night, answering drill commands as loudly as anyone else. The Special Olympics see many of these small miracles every year.
Special Olympics Links
Small Miracles at Special Olympics
- Bangladeshi autistic woman becomes Special Olympics champion - Xinhua | English.news.cn
Shewli Shathi, 27, was born into a poor family in a depressed area in Dhaka and was unable to walk until she was 15 years old, aside from being autistic. Her neighbors often taunt her. They never thought she would win.
Shathi, who now works with autisic children through her government agency, earned two silver and one bronze medal in badminton in the Special Olympics World Summer Games of 2007 in Shanghai, China. She earned another five gold medals in bocce in the 1st Asia Pacific Special Olympics in Brunei in 2009. In the 4th Asia Pacific Special Olympics also held in Brunei in 2012, she won again. See Welcome To Special Olympics Bangladesh
A Person is Not a Diagnosis
I learned the history of Special Olympics and the Paralympic Games through my martial arts and restaurant work and my interest in helping disabled youth.
Rose Marie Kennedy (1918 – 2005) is the reason we have Special Olympics in the 21st Century.
This dear woman was the child Joseph and Rose Kennedy, the parents of President John F. Kennedy. Rose Marie was JFK’s sister who outlived him by 42 years and had been born one year after his own birth. As a child, she was well cared for and kept an intelligent diary. However, she was shy and retiring, and so was diagnosed as mentally retarded. What followed was a tragedy that lasted for long 64 years.
Rose Marie became irritable in puberty and was considered was considered violent because of it. That, along with shyness that was labeled Mental Retardation led her parents to have her lobotomized. This is a surgical procedure in which a small part of the reasoning part of the brain, the cerebrum is cut out and destroyed. A film example is displayed in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Rose Marie became and unresponsive vegetable-like creature for 64 years. Her parents may have been led to believe that the lobotomy was a magical procedure that would cure her, but that is not what they received.
Author Ronald Kessler wrote about this heartbreak in his book The Sins of the Father: Joseph P. Kennedy and the Dynasty He Founded (1996). Kessler writes that the doctor that performed the surgery, a Dr. Freeman, performed 3,000+ additional lobotomies and then his MD license was revoked.
While institutionalized since 1949, Rose Marie was visited often from her sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Mrs. Shriver founded Special Olympics as a legacy for Rose Marie and the hope that exists for anyone physically or mentally challenged. Mrs. Shriver has dedicated a large portion of her life to helping challenged individuals in order to give them the chance that Rose Marie should have had and never received. Mrs. Shriver and brother Ted Kennedy watched her die at the age of 86, of old age.
This is my favorite part of Special Olympics – the truth that a diagnosis does not need to be who the person is.
Mr. Kessler was able to uncover the truth about Rose Marie from Dr. Bertram Brown. Dr. Brown was Executive Director of the President's Panel on Mental Retardation. He stated that since Rose Marie could perform arithmetic, then she had an IQ of over 75, the threshold for Mental Retardation in public schools at the time. She should have gone to regular school. At only nine years old, the girl correctly solved problems such as 3-digit multiplication and division. Some mainstream classroom 9-year-olds today cannot do those problems.
Dr. Brown, was a former director of the National Institute of Mental Health as well. Brown felt that she may have had a normal IQ of 90 in the range of 90-100 being normal in a family where everyone else had an IQ of 130+. They did not know she was normal and she embarrassed them.
The R-Word is as wrong as the N-Word
- Stop the R-Word
One day, I hope that people experience the same wrath for using the R-word that Paula Deen has received. -- Kirsten Seckler
What Events Are Offered In Special Olympics?
Each state in the union and each different country around the world has its own Special Olympics division with its won sports. Not all sports are performed in all states.
Ohio Special Olymics Training:
- Cross Country Skiing
- Equestrian (Horse Riding)
- Figure Skating
- Gymnastics (Artistic)
- Motor Activities
- Roller Skating
- Speed Skating
While the Ohio events do not include martial arts, many martial artists in the state train individals with with challeneges and these folks compete in the Arnold Martial Arts Festival every spring in Columbus, Ohio at the Convention Center. I recently watched a squad of a dozen athletes perform a long demonstration of basic and advanced mocments for the audience several times with determination and without complaint. I wish everyone could see this.
UK Special Olympics offers more events than Ohio:
Aquatics, Alpine Skiing , Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boccia, Bowling, Bowls, Cricket, Cycling, Equestrian, Floor Hockey, Soccer, Golf, Gymnastics, Kayaking, Judo;
MATP - Motor Activities Training Program: Bean bag lift, Ball kick, Wide beam and bench, Ball lift (small and large), Ball push, and Log roll;
Netball, Powerlifting, Sailing, and Softball.
- Have You Heard of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics?
The Paralympic Games do not get as much media play as the
- Olympic Champion, Doctor, Irish Tenor: Ronan Tynan
Ronan Tynon, winner of 18 Gold Medals, won with artificial legs. And then became a doctor, a singer, and one of the Irish Tenlors.
- The London 2012 Paralympics and Some Paralympic Heroes
The Paralympic Games of summer gather increasing numbers of athletes every four years and 2012 saw a full 4,200 individuals registered to participate. The numbers of enrollment for women is significant as well.