The 50th annual Special Olympics Spring Games kicked off Thursday afternoon in Chicago.
Hundreds of family members, coaches and fans welcomed more than 4,500 athletes at Thursday's opening ceremonies. The event was held at Soldier Field, where the Special Olympics was first held in 1968.
The Special Olympics is the largest sports organization in the world for people with intellectual disabilities. Today, 5 million athletes from 172 countries participate.
At Thursday's ceremony, the Olympic torch was carried in by athletes and coaches. They were entertained by a drum line band, dancers and other entertainers.
Athletes will compete in more than 25 track and field events throughout the Spring Games, which run from May 7 to 11 at Dunbar Park in Chicago.