Saturday night, August 11, 1979, 3,500 athletes gathered to bid farewell to the Fifth International Special Olympics. The torch was extinguished, and Gen. Robert M. Montague, executive director of the Special Olympics, officially declared it closed.
Athletes ringed the field eight deep, with one athlete and one chaperone representing each delegation forming a circle in the center of the stadium to witness the snuffing of the torch, which had burned since Thursday evening. The Special Olympians placed one item from each delegation into a time capsule, which will remain buried for 100 years.
More than 6,000 medals were awarded: 2,200 golds, 1,950 silvers, and 1,825 bronzes. In addition, all the athletes received participation medals for their effort. The winners wore their prizes to the ceremonies, and the awards clinked together as they walked through the stadium.
With more than three days of constant activities completed, including their athletic competitions, Adventure Day at Niagara Falls, and making new friends, the athletes will begin to make their way home.
Reporting by Mamaroneck Daily Times and Buffalo Courier Express on August 12, 1979.
Gifford Morgan & the cornerstone