The Special Olympics World Games is a major international multi-sport event for athletes with intellectual disabilities, which aims to showcase the skills and accomplishments of people with intellectual disabilities on a global stage. The IOC-recognized, Special Olympics organization, organizes these games. The event is held every two years alternating between Summer and Winter events, similar to the current format of the Olympics and Paralympics, albeit in the reverse order, with Winter Games being held on leap years rather than the Summer Games.
The first-ever International Special Olympics Summer Games took place in 1968 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The first-ever International Special Olympics Winter Games were held in 1977 in Colorado, USA. The name of the International Special Olympics Summer/Winter Games was officially changed to the Special Olympics World Summer/Winter Games in 1991.