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Special Olympics Maine celebrates 50 years

Special Olympics Maine is underway at the University of Maine this weekend. As athletes compete, organizers look back on 50 years.

Athletes from ages 8 to 88, numbering around 1,500 total, filled the University of Maine's Orono campus Friday. 

Special Olympics organizer Lisa Bird says this is the weekend these athletes wait for all year.

"It's their state championship," she said.

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This year is extra special, as Special Olympics Maine looks back on 50 years.

"We're so excited to be able to say that we have made it for 50 years," Bird said. "In 1969 when we first started, people should know that during that time, people with intellectual disabilities had barely even started going to school -- let alone be allowed out in the community or participating in sports."

Maine has 5,000 athletes registered in the Special Olympics program.