1989 International Winter Special Olympics Games

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1989 International Winter Special Olympics Games


Special Olympics is an international program of physical fitness, sports training, and athletic competition for individuals with mental retardation. The vision that began over 20 years ago as backyard daycamp has now evolved into a worldwide program with over one million athletes from all 50 states and 75 countries. Through successful experiences in sports training and competition, athletes are able to foster a positive self-image, which enhances the basic skills for Special Olympians to become active participants with their families, peers, and community.

The IV International Winter Special Olympics Games were held April 1-8, 1989, in Reno, Nevada and Lake Tahoe, California, USA. Over 1200 athletes with mental retardation from all 50 states and 17 countries competed in five Special Olympics winter sports. While most of the special activities and sport competition in figure skating, speed skating, and floor hockey were centered in downtown Reno, athletes competing in alpine and nordic skiing competed at the world class Squaw Valley and Royal Gorge ski centers.

I Am Proud to Be

A Special Olympian

The Games commenced with gala Opening Ceremonies at Squaw Valley, USA. Undaunted by rain and wind, the athletes proudly marched into the ski area to accolades of Bruce Jenner, 1976 Olympic Decathlon gold medalist. After a presentation of the Special Olympics flag by the University of Nevada-Reno Ski Team, the crowd roared approval as Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder and Chairman of Special Olympics, led them in chanting, "I am proud to be a Special Olympian."

Throughout the week Special Olympians, family members, and volunteers would be treated to one of the most spectacular sports events of the year. In addition to exciting competition in figure skating, speed skating, floor hockey, alpine skiing, and nordic skiing, there were also numerous daily sports clinics, exhibitions, and special events.

Performances

Reminiscent of

Past Olympic Games

After two days of preliminary divisioning to provide that all athletes would be competing against athletes of equal ability, competition began. At Squaw Valley spectators were witness to dazzling runs on the downhill, giant slalom, and slalom courses.

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