Our Story

Special Olympics movement

In the early sixties, Dr. Frank Hayden, a Toronto researcher and teacher, demonstrated that, when given the chance, people with an intellectual disability could increase their fitness level as well as their social and motor skills through sports.

His research drew the attention of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and the Washington-based Kennedy Foundation and led to the creation of Special Olympics Inc.

Only two countries competed in the first Special Olympics held at Soldier Field in Chicago in 1968 : the United States and Canada. The following year, Harry "Red" Foster founded Special Olympics Canada.

Noëlla Douglas founded the Special Olympics movement in Québec in 1981. Her name has been given to an award given each year to a volunteer in recongition of his or her accomplishments.

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