Photo by Cory Hansen

Photo by Cory Hansen

Today residents and leaders from more than 100 communities in Southern California learned if they would be saying Bonjour!, ¡Hola!, ! مرحباً , 您好!, Привет! or Hello!beginning July 21 when they host 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches in the days prior to start of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles. Delegates from as many as 170 Special Olympics Programs from around the world will spend three days and nights in communities stretching from San Luis Obispo to San Diego as part of the Host Town program – enjoying a warm welcome to the U.S. before moving into the Athlete Villages at USC and UCLA on July 24. Additional communities and delegations will be announced in the coming weeks, including the Host Town for Special Olympics Team USA.

 

Today’s Host Town pairing announcement follows the successful Head of Delegation Conference that opened with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti greeting the attendees with “welcome to your second home.” The four-day conference held January 21-25, 2015, brought together key members of national and international Special Olympics Programs to learn about World Games venues, operations and services. The Opening Ceremony of the World Games, now less than five months away, will be held at the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on July 25 and televised to a worldwide audience by ESPN.

 

The Host Town program has been an important element of Special Olympics World Games since 1995. The experience has left a lasting impression on the local communities in Ireland, Japan, China, Greece, South Korea and the United States, all of which have previously organized Host Town programs as part of the Special Olympics World Games. Communities are evaluated on the availability of lodging accommodations, sports practice facilities and recreation/entertainment offerings for the athletes, among other criteria. Each Host Town committee is also responsible for planning activities for the athletes to introduce them to the community and help spread the word about the World Games.

 

“The Host Town program gives each community an opportunity to showcase to the world what makes them special, but more importantly to provide citizens with a better understanding of intellectual disabilities that will lead to acceptance and inclusion for all,” said Patrick McClenahan, President and CEO of LA2015. “Long after the World Games are over, the memories of those three days spent at Host Town will leave a lasting legacy for Special Olympics Southern California and everyone who was touched by our athletes. We are thankful to all participating Host Towns and their tireless volunteers for opening their doors – and their hearts – to our athletes and coaches.”

 

About Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015)
With 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games – being staged in Los Angeles July 25 – August 2, 2015 – will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games. The 2015 Special Olympics World Games, with the unparalleled spirit, enthusiasm, teamwork, joy and displays of courage and skill that are hallmarks of all Special Olympics events, will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the Los Angeles region. The Opening Ceremony, to be held July 25, 2015 in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, is expected to attract 80,000 spectators. On April 30, 2014, LA2015 and ESPN announced a global programming deal that will see ESPN bring coverage of World Games to millions of fans around the world. Honorary Chairs of the Games are President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Jerry Brown serving as Honorary Hosts. Current Founding Champions and sponsors include The Coca-Cola Company, Mattel, Deloitte, Toyota, Bank of America, Kaiser Permanente, OUE Skyspace Los Angeles, Davis Elen Advertising, Microsoft, Toys“R”Us, Google, UPS, AEG, David Geffen, Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg, The Walt Disney Company, Panda Express, and Knights of Columbus. LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee, is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information on the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.LA2015.org and on social with #ReachUpLA on Facebook, Twitter andInstagram.
 
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries. With the support of more than 1.3 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 81,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org. Engage with us on: [email protected]; fb.com/specialolympics; youtube.com/specialolympicshq;instagram.com/specialolympics and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.

About Special Olympics Southern California
Founded in 1969 by Olympic decathlon gold medalist Rafer Johnson, Special Olympics Southern California offers opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities to participate in year-round sports training and competition. More than 17,000 athletes and 15,000 coaches and volunteers take part in 12 Olympic-style sports. For more information, visit www.sosc.org.