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Special Olympics



Special Olympics
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.82

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    aquatics, higher-level, intellectual, timid, regional, inspiration, lottery, worthy, gender, division, importance, based, providing, lifetime, formation, gymnastics
     content words:    Marie Kennedy, Special Olympics, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Camp Shriver, Special Olympic Summer Games, Special Olympics Winter Games, Steamboat Springs, Olympic Summer Games, World Games, Kennedy Shriver


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Special Olympics
By Phyllis Naegeli
  

1     Rose Marie Kennedy came into the world on September 13, 1918. Born into one of America's most famous families, Rosemary, as she was often called, was timid and shy as a young girl. She had trouble learning. Her parents discovered she was intellectually challenged. In those days, people like her were called mentally retarded. Rosie, as she was known to family and friends, became the inspiration for the Special Olympics.
 
2     In 1962, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Rosie's sister, started Camp Shriver for people who had intellectual challenges. It was held at the Shriver home in Rockland, Maryland. Thirty-five people attended the camp the first summer. It became an annual event. Each year more people would come to the camp. Word spread about the importance of physical fitness for people with mental challenges, leading to the formation of the Special Olympics.
 
3     The first Special Olympic Summer Games were held at Soldier's Field in Chicago, Illinois. One thousand athletes attended the Games. Events were held in track and field, floor hockey, and swimming. The popularity of Special Olympics grew rapidly. By 1975, three thousand five hundred athletes from ten countries competed at the Games. In 1977, the first Special Olympics Winter Games were held in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Five hundred athletes competed in skiing and skating events. Today, Special Olympic Summer Games have competitions in 19 separate events. These include volleyball, swimming, aquatics, and gymnastics. Winter sports include skiing, skating, snowboarding, and floor hockey.

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