Rafer Johnson (Self)Eunice Kennedy Shriver (Self)Jo Kidd (Self)Kelly Lange (Self)
R. Durrell Robinson
Santa Monica was also the birthplace of Special Olympics on the Westside. In the spring of 1976 Olympic gold medalist Rafer Johnson and Santa Monica College (SMC) Professor Jo Kidd started the first Special Olympics program in the West L.A.-Santa Monica area. In partnership with the City of Santa Monica Recreation Department they began holding weekly training sessions in track and field at SMC followed by the first Westside Special Olympics (WSO) meet. Eunice Kennedy Shriver started the concept of Special Olympics in 1963 as a day camp for people with intellectual disabilities to provide them with the therapeutic effects of physical fitness and sports. In 1968, she organized the first International Special Olympics Games, where 1,000 athletes from the United States, Canada and France competed. That year, Special Olympics was founded as a nonprofit organization.