CHICAGO (AP) — The 50th annual Special Olympics Spring Games is kicking off in Chicago.

Hundreds of family members, coaches and fans will welcome more than 4,500 athletes at Thursday’s opening ceremonies. The event will be 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 will be carried in by athletes and coaches. There also will be a drum line band, dancers and other entertainers.

Athletes will compete in more than 25 track and field events throughout the Spring Games, which are scheduled from May 7 to 11 at Dunbar Park in Chicago.

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