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 Special Olympics Marks 50th Anniversary with Eternal Flame of Hope

To mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of Special Olympics, a permanent sculpture has been added to the grounds of Solider Field in Chicago, IL, the site of where the first games took place.
In a city home to famed artwork and sculptures such as Cloud Gate (The Bean) by Anish Kapoor in Millennium Park, The Picasso by Pablo Picasso in Daley Plaza, The Herald Square Monument by Lorado Taft in Herald Square and Calder’s Flamingo by Alexander Calder in Federal Square, The Eternal Flame of Hope joins a roster of incredible outdoor sculptures, and is a “must-see” for all visiting or living in Chicago.
The Eternal Flame of Hope is a permanent, nearly 30-foot monument, created and designed by world-renowned Chicago sculptor, Richard Hunt. Representing the progress that has been made during the last 50 years, and the progress yet to achieve, the Eternal Flame of Hope is lit 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Featuring a beautifully landscaped plaza and donor recognition wall, The Eternal Flame of Hope serves as a permanent reminder of the life-changing organization that’s now in more than 170 countries, with more than 5 million individuals with intellectual disabilities participating.
The first Special Olympics games took place at Soldier Field on July 20, 1968, with 1,000 athletes competing from 26 states and Canada. The Chicago program is now the largest in the State of Illinois with more than 7,500 athletes competing.
“Those first games here at Soldier Field created a contagious affection for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Instead of being shut away, these individuals were finally seen for what they were and are - people with hopes, dreams and enormous potential,” says Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, founder of Chicago Special Olympics.
“This monument and eternal flame will serve as a reminder to visitors from all over the world of those first games, and serve as a beacon symbolizing the potential of every individual for greatness.”
The Eternal Flame of Hope is located on McFetridge Drive on the grounds of Soldier Field, and across from the entrance to the Field Museum.
For more information about the history of Special Olympics in Chicago, please visit the SCC/Special Olympics Chicago website at sochicago.org
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