Special Olympics Leicester

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Memorabilia and ephemera, press cuttings, photographs, signed material, action plans, guides, programmes, framed photos, evaluation reports, DVD's, Resource Pack, Educational CD-Roms, General Rules Folders, Bid Documents, PR Coverage Booklet relating to the Special Olympics that took place in Leicester in the summer of 2009. Other materials include bid documents for the London 2012 games, the Commonwealth Games in Manchester as well as the 1989 Special Olympics that took place in Leicester.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Special Olympics Movement was founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister of President John F Kennedy. Eunice believed that the Olympic ideals of sport could give confidence and new hope to people with learning disabilities and to those who cared for them.

Special Olympics Great Britain (SOGB) was established in 1978 as part of the global Special Olympics Movement. It was founded by Chris Maloney MBE, who had been teaching swimming to people with learning disabilities since the early 1960s. Chris had been enlisted by Eunice Kennedy Shriver to develop the Special Olympics programme in the UK.

Chris wanted to make more people aware that people with learning disabilities could enjoy sports and soon he discovered the work that the Special Olympics was doing in America.

In the early years it was difficult convincing people that Special Olympics catered for all ability groups. However, Chris overcame these challenges and by 1979 there were 60 local Special Olympics groups registered in Great Britain. In February 1988, the IOC, the umbrella organization of the Olympic movement, officially recognised Special Olympics as the third Olympic movement alongside the Olympics and Paralympics. SOGB was established in 1978 as part of Special Olympics Inc. SOGB is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee and presently offer opportunities to more than 8000 children and adults with a learning disability.

The 8th SO GB National Summer Games was hosted by Leicester city between the 25th and 31st of July 2009 marking the 2nd time the city had hosted the prestigious games. Over 2,400 athletes representing 19 Special Olympics regions across the UK have visited the city of Leicester over the seven-day period along with 1,200 coaches and 1,500 volunteers. Leicester also hosted the games in 1989 marking the 3rd SO National Summer Games. The games were held between 18th and 26th of August 1989 bringing together 1730 athletes, coaches and families. A crowd of 18,000 watched the opening ceremony at the Welford Road ground of the Leicester Tigers Rugby Union club.

Conditions Governing Access

Open and available for general access

Acquisition Information

Donated to the International Centre for Sports History and Culture at DMU, who passed the collection to the Archive

Other Finding Aids

Box list available

Archivist's Note

Catalogued in February-March 2016 by Steven Peachey, Archives Assistant

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made for private research purposes only