The concept of Special Olympics began in the 1960s when Eunice Kennedy-Shriver started a day camp for people with mental retardation. In 1968, the First International Summer Special Olympics Games were held at Soldiers Field in Chicago for 1,000 athletes from the United States, Canada and France. From then on, Special Olympics has had worldwide impact.
In 1991 in Minneapolis at the Summer International Special Olympics Games, 6,000 athletes competed from 93 countries. Monroe County was represented by a swimmer, George Doerner and gymnast, Elizabeth DeChalais.
In March 1993 Olympians Herbert Brock and Chris Sullivan represented Monroe County at the World Winter Games in Austria in figure and speed skating.
In July 1995, Monroe County was represented by 6 athletes and 4 coaches at the World Summer Special Olympics Games in Connecticut. Tray Greene, Billie Chatman and Brian Chatman competed in Roller Skating, John Bryson competed in Aquatics, Brian Dioguardi and special partner Angelo Rose competed in Unified Golf and Dennis Rickert ran the half marathon, the 800-meter and 200-meter run. The Connecticut Summer Games had 7,000 participants from 140 countries around the world.
The New York Summer Special Olympics games were held in Rochester at the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technolgy in 1997 and 1998. Approximately 1500 athletes competed, 100 of whom were from Monroe County.
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