Wanting to provide equal opportunities for children and young people with developmental disabilities who still wanted to participate in sports, Eunice Kennedy Shriver started Special Olympics in 1968. The first Special Olympics Games were held in Chicago at Solider Field. Ms. Shriver believed that the skills these young people developed through athletics would translate into other areas of their life, including academic performance and at home.
In 2016, Special Olympics Florida announced that it would participate in the Special Olympics Unified Sports Rivalry Series. Presented by ESPN, the event allowed those with and without developmental disabilities to play on the same team. Special Olympics Florida wanted to showcase how friendships and mutual respect could be developed between players while eradicating stereotypes.