"Let me win,
But if I cannot win,
Let me be brave in the attempt."
Mission of Special Olympics South Dakota is to provide year-round
sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type
sports for children (8 years and older) and adults with intellectual
disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical
fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a
sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other
Special Olympics athletes and the community.
Olympics is founded on the belief that people with intellectual
disabilities can, with proper instruction and encouragement, learn,
enjoy and benefit from participation in individual and team sports.
Special Olympics believes that consistent training is essential to the development of sports skills, and that competition among those of equal abilities is the most appropriate means of testing these skills, measuring progress and providing incentives for personal growth.
Special Olympics believes that through sports training and competition, people with intellectual disabilities benefit physically, mentally, socially and spiritually; families are strengthened; and the community at large, both through participation and observation, is united in understanding people with intellectual disabilities in an environment of equality, respect and acceptance.
Olympics is an unprecedented global movement which, through quality
sports training and competition, improves the lives of people with
intellectual disabilities and, in turn, the lives of everyone they
concept of Special Olympics began in the early 1960’s, when Eunice
Kennedy Shriver started a day camp for people with intellectual
disabilities. In 1968, Mrs. Shriver organized the First International
Special Olympics Games at Soldier Field in Chicago. From Chicago, the
excitement spread to South Dakota, where in 1968 the 1st Annual Special
Olympics South Dakota Summer Games were held with 125 athletes
The Spirit of Special Olympics
her way to the Opening Ceremonies of the first Special Olympics World
Games, Eunice Kennedy Shriver wrote the final draft to an athlete oath.
In front of the many spectators and visitors, Shriver memorably opened
the Games with these words:
ancient Rome, the gladiators went into the arena with these words on
their lips: 'Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the
attempt.' Today, all of you young athletes are in the arena. Many of you
will win, but even more important, I know you will be brave, and bring
credit to your parents and to your country. Let us begin the Olympics.