A look back at the 1975 International Special Olympics Games in Mount Pleasant, MI

The Clarke Historical Library recognized the 40th anniversary of the 1975 International Special Olympics Games this week with a blog post explaining the history behind it.

ABC’s Wide World of Sports was on-site filming the events. The American, Canadian, and French first ladies came to Isabella County as did members of the Kennedy family. Over 3,000 athletes from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several other countries were staying in the athletes’ village (also known as CMU Residence Halls). It was the 1975 International Special Olympics — and event that is still remembered fondly by those involved 40 years ago.

The blog goes on to explain how extraordinary the decision to hold the games in Mount Pleasant were. Before then, these games were hosted in larger cities like Chicago and Los Angeles.

The selection of Mount Pleasant as the site of the Fourth International Games was certainly a shift from the previous three sites — Chicago (1968), Chicago (1970), and Los Angeles (1972). But despite the smaller size of Mount Pleasant compared to the second and third largest cities in the United States, CMU, Mount Pleasant, and the state of Michigan came out in full force for the event.

Discussion Question

Did you volunteer during the 1975 International Special Olympics Games?

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Video from the 1975 International Special Olympics Games


My Connection to Special Olympics Michigan

I worked for Special Olympics Michigan between 2001 and 2003 so I read these accounts of the International Games with a lot of interest.

Originally published at docs.google.com.

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