Fifty years ago this Friday, 1,000 young athletes competed for gold at Soldier Field as part of the very first Special Olympics.
To celebrate the anniversary, a series of events kicked off earlier this week and continue through Saturday. Among the events, which have drawn people from 25 countries to the city: an international soccer tournament (wrapping up Friday) and the Special Olympics 50th Anniversary Celebration Concert (Saturday) featuring Chance the Rapper, Usher and O.A.R.
“Just to have the celebration is exciting,” said Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke. “And to have the International Special Olympics and all the states and other countries come to Chicago to celebrate what Chicago did.”
Burke was one of the leading forces behind the first games, which took place on July 20, 1968.
“Chicago really placed people with learning differences on the map by providing [the Special Olympics] … and the world recognizes that in this point at time,” she said.
Burke joins us to discuss the history of the Special Olympics.