Special Olympics return for 40th anniversary

July 19, 2008 5:23:49 PM PDT
A celebration was held over the weekend for the 40th anniversary of the Special Olympics, which was first played in Chicago.Current and former Special Olympians went to Soldier Field to commemorate the occasion. llinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke attended, as well. Burke helped organize the first Special Olympics in 1968.

Blackhawks star Stan Mikita, who helped coach those game, also made an appearance.

A highlight Saturday was when an athlete carried the Olympic torch, which was subsequently lit by another athlete.

"It was fun. I lit it. I lit it by myself. I held on to it. I like it," said Special Olympics athlete Brett Bartz.

"It gives athletes with intellectual disabilities a chance to make friends, [to] compete. Their families get together, and they make a friendship and a bond. It's a great thing for everybody," said Shabbona Park Special Rec Instructor Lori Michalski.

Some of the athletes got a chance to shoot basketballs and show off their skills.