Special Olympics is the world's largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions to more than 4.5 million athletes in 170 countries. Special Olympics competitions are held every day, all around the world—including local, national and regional competitions, adding up to more than 94,000 events a year. Like the International Paralympic Committee, the Special Olympics organization is recognized by the International Olympic Committee; however, unlike the Paralympic Games, Special Olympics World Games are not held in conjunction with the Olympic Games, and regional Special Olympics committees are not closely modeled on national olympic committees.
These competitions include the Special Olympics World Games, which alternate between summer and winter games. Special Olympics World Games are held every two years. The most recent World Summer Games were the Special Olympics World Summer Games, held in Los Angeles, California (The largest event in LA since the 1984 Olympic Games), from July 25, 2015 to August 2, 2015 and for the first time were part of ESPN daily coverage. The most recent Special Olympics World Winter Games were held in Pyeongchang, South Korea from January 29 to February 5, 2013. At the same time, the first Special Olympics Global Development Summit was held on "Ending the Cycle of Poverty and Exclusion for People with Intellectual Disabilities," gathering government officials, activists and business leaders from around the world  Graz and Schladming, Austria will host the next Special Olympics World Winter Games from March 14–25, 2017.
HISTORY: In June 1962, Eunice Kennedy Shriver started a day camp for children with intellectual disabilities at her home in Potomac, Maryland. She started this camp because she was concerned about children with intellectual disabilities having nowhere to play. Using Camp Shriver as an example, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who was head of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation and part of President John F. Kennedy's Panel on Mental Retardation, promoted the concept of involvement in physical activity and other opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities. Camp Shriver became an annual event, and the Kennedy Foundation (of which Eunice was executive vice president) gave grants to universities, recreation departments and community centers to hold similar camps.
The Special Olympics logo has gone through several changes in its lifetime. The "stick figure" is an abstract but humanistic form designed to convey the impression of movement and activity. The logo is a symbol of growth, confidence and joy among children and adults with disabilities who are learning coordination, mastering skills, participating in competitions and preparing themselves for richer, more productive lives. The spherical appearance of the logo is a representation of Special Olympics' global outreach.