Starting July 17 and running through July 21, Special Olympics International will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in Chicago, highlighting 50 years of joy, courage, empowerment and progress. The Chicago celebration kicks off a year-long anniversary celebration. As part of the celebration, the organization will be challenging people across the globe to join our Revolution is Inclusion campaign—an all-out effort, led by Special Olympics athletes, to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities (ID) and deliver a fully inclusive world.
Hosted in Chicago, birthplace and home of the first Special Olympics Summer Games, the 50th Anniversary is open to all and will feature marquee events including:
July 17-20: Special Olympics Unified Cup presented by Toyota at CIBC Fire Pitch and Toyota Park
An inaugural soccer invitational tournament featuring 24 global Unified teams (16 male and eight female teams), each including players with and without intellectual disabilities playing alongside each other.
Preliminary matches will take place July 17-19 at the CIBC Fire Pitch (3626 North Talman Ave, Chicago) starting at 8 a.m. CT, with final matches taking place July 20 at Toyota Park (7000 Harlem Ave, Bridgeview, IL) starting at 4 p.m. CT with the celebrity match. The final matches, beginning at 5 p.m. CT, will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Attendance is free, and more information can be found here.
July 20: Commemorative Law Enforcement Torch Run
A ceremonial Law Enforcement Torch Run will feature hundreds of law enforcement officers and Special Olympics athletes from around Chicago and the world. This four-mile run will take place along Chicago's lakefront and conclude with the lighting of the Eternal Flame of Hope outside of Soldier Field. The run will start at 11 a.m. CT at 39th Street along the lake shore path. More information can be found here.
July 20: Eternal Flame of Hope Lighting at McFetridge Park
A permanent, 30-foot monument honoring the birth of Special Olympics at Soldier Field in 1968 will be lit at a dedication ceremony. The monument will feature a landscaped plaza and donor recognition wall, as well as the spectacular sculpture and eternal flame, symbolizing the eternal hope Special Olympics provides to athletes and their families, and in turn, the eternal hope Special Olympics athletes provide the world. World-renowned artist, Richard Hunt, is the designer of the sculpture. Following the Law Enforcement Torch Run, the Eternal Flame of Hope Lighting will begin at approximately 12 p.m. CT at the Museum Campus between Soldier Field and the Field Museum. More information about the Eternal Flame of Hope and how to donate can be found here.
July 21: Global Day of Inclusion at Soldier Field
The Global Day of Inclusion is a massive celebration and family-friendly festival that will encourage all people to make their cities more inclusive. Day of Inclusion events include sports activities, games, exhibits, delicious food and live entertainment. The free event will begin at 1 p.m. CT at Soldier Field and is open to the public. More information can be found here.
July 21, evening: 50th Anniversary Celebration Concert at Northerly Island
Capping off the 50th Anniversary festivities, Chance The Rapper will headline the 50th Anniversary Celebration Concert also featuring Usher, Smokey Robinson, Jason Mraz, O.A.R., Francis and the Lights, Daya and more. The 50th Anniversary Celebration Concert will be produced by Chance The Rapper's production company, Social Function Productions. Dedicated to empowerment and inclusion, the concert begins at 5:30 pm CT. More information and tickets can be found here.
Illuminating the Inclusion Revolution
Finally, in addition to the Chicago-based anniversary events, on July 20, more than 70 major landmarks, stadiums and iconic buildings around the world will turn red as part of Light Up for Inclusion, a global display of unity representing the dawn of the Inclusion Revolution.