Tim Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics International, and Mary Davis, CEO of Special Olympics International, outside Soldier Field in Chicago on July 20, 2018.

Special Olympics launched the next 50 years of the Inclusion Revolution in Chicago during a 50th anniversary celebration, July 17-21. The festivities included a Unified Cup soccer tournament featuring teams from the US and abroad; a Global Day of Inclusion Festival; a star-studded concert including Chance the Rapper, Usher, Jason Mraz, O.A.R., Smoky Robinson and more; and a ceremony to light an Eternal Flame of Hope near Soldier Field, where the first Games were held back in 1968.

After a beautiful and slightly rain-soaked ceremony, Special Olympics Chief Inspiration Officer Loretta Claiborne and Chief Steve Stelter, Law Enforcement Torch Run Director for Illinois, ran onto the stage.

At the end of the ceremony, Loretta Clairborne and Chief Stelter lit the eternal flame. As an added surprise, it was also announced that the road by Soldier Field will be renamed Special Olympics Drive!

Featuring a custom design by renowned sculptor Richard Hunt, the Eternal Flame of Hope monument will welcome millions of visitors each year to its prominent location at the main entrance of the Museum Campus and Soldier Field. The sculpture rises 30 feet into the air and features an eternal flame, burning perpetually to honor athletes past, present and future as a symbol of hope and inclusivity.

Click here to view a photo gallery from the Eternal Flame of Hope ceremony.

As part of the 50th anniversary celebration in Michigan, Special Olympics Michigan is holding its annual Hall of Fame Banquet and Leadership Conference in Detroit. More details can be found at somi.org/50th.