Each January, Publix associates and customers team up to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics, an organization focused on empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities. You have most likely already heard of this amazing organization, but there’s more to their story than meets the eye. Take a look at these interesting facts about Special Olympics!
- The Special Olympics was founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in the late 1950s.
- The first Special Olympics Summer Games were held in 1968. More than 1,000 people with intellectual disabilities participated.
- The first Special Olympics Winter Games weren’t held until 1977.
- Barbra Streisand performed live at the Special Olympics Gala held in 1975.
- In 1987, A Very Special Christmas was released as a benefit album for the organization. It sold more than two million copies that year and continues to impact the organization with sales today. It is the most successful benefit recording series in music history.
- Special Olympics offers more than 1.4 million free health examinations to athletes in more than 120 countries.
- Athletes compete in virtually every Olympic event, including Sailing, Bocce, and Floorball.
- Special Olympics is one of only two organizations authorized to use the name “Olympics.”
- Special Olympics educates others about people with intellectual disabilities. You can read more on their website.
- Publix was inducted into the Special Olympics Hall of Fame in 2001.
- The first Special Olympics World Games held outside of the United States were hosted in Salzburg and Schladming, Austria.
- People with intellectual disabilities began serving as officials in the games in 1995.
- Special Olympics released the most comprehensive global study on how people around the world view those with intellectual disabilities in 2003. The study was called, “The Multinational Study of Attitudes toward Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities.”
- “The Ringer,” a 2005 movie starring Johnny Knoxville, has appearances from over 150 Special Olympics athletes.
- As of 2014, Special Olympics includes more than 4.4 million athletes worldwide.
- Publix has been an active Special Olympics partner for more than 40 years.
Here’s to a truly special organization and all they stand for. Find out more about Special Olympics and how you can donate and volunteer for the cause at www.specialolympics.org. Also, ask your cashier next time you’re shopping with us how you can give back with Publix!
Has your life been positively impacted by Special Olympics in some way? Tell us about it in the comments!