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Los Angeles 2015

The 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles will feature summer sports such as athletics and swimming among teams from all corners of the earth. Mohamed Gaballa, a Special Olympics swimmer from Egypt, aspires to compete in Los Angeles next year.

The 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games open on 25 July 2015 in  Los Angeles, California. The 2015  Games will feature competitions in aquatics, gymnastics, track and field, basketball, football (soccer) and many other summer sports involving 7,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities from around the world.

Quick Facts

  • The 2015 Games will be the 14th Special Olympics World Summer Games. 
  • The Games are scheduled for 25 July to 2 August 2015 
  • LA 2015 will mark the first World Summer Games held in the U.S. in 16 years. 
  • The LA2015 website is at www.LA2015.org
  • Volunteers are needed. Here's how.

California, Here We Come

Los Angeles is set to welcome more than 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from 170 nations to compete in 25 Olympic-type sports.  It's a world stage for our athletes to demonstrate on the playing field their courage, determination and spirit of sportsmanship.

The most recent World Summer Games were in Athens, Greece in 2011. The 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games could bring as many as a half-million people to the greater Los Angeles area from 25 July to 2 August 2015. The Special Olympics World Summer Games will return to the United States after 16 years, having last been held in the United States in 1999 in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

“These Games will change the lives of people around the world who are mistreated and excluded because they’re ‘different,’”  said Patrick McClenahan, President and Chief Executive Officer of LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee.


LA 2015 Sports

  • Aquatics
  • Athletics
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Beach Volleyball
  • Basketball
  • Bocce
  • Bowling
  • Cycling
  • Equestrian
  • Football (Soccer)
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Judo
  • Kayaking
  • Open Water Swim
  • Powerlifting
  • Rollerskating
  • Sailing
  • Table Tennis
  • Team Handball
  • Tennis
  • Triathlon
  • Softball
  • Volleyball

Changing Attitudes

The Games also are a chance for spectators and volunteers to have their preconceptions about people with intellectual disabilities changed forever. Getting involved with the Games by cheering from the stands or handing out cups of water to thirsty athletes is a sure way to change your view of people of all kinds.

Special Olympics World Games -- and all of the 80,000 Special Olympics competitions that occur every year--invite the public to see the talents and capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities. It's a way to open eyes, to change attitudes and to break down barriers that excluded people with ID from the mainstream of community.

The Los Angeles Games will also provide a venue for global discussions and action on the impact Special Olympics can have on the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. More than 200 million people worldwide have an intellectual disability, making it the largest disability group worldwide. Intellectual disability crosses racial, ethnic, educational, social and economic lines, and can occur in any family.

Volunteers and supporters are also essential to make the World Games a success. To apply to be one of the 30,000 volunteers for the World Games please visit: www.LA2015.org/volunteer. To help raise funds to cover costs associated with the visiting athletes, please visit support.la2015.org. For more information about the World Games, please visit www.LA2015.org/ and on social with #ReachUpLA on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram


Stories about the 2015 Games


May 26, 2015 | Europe Eurasia: Israel

Athletes to bring Honor to Israel

By Reuven Astrachan

Often the perception is that people with intellectual disabilities should be hidden away. In a new TV campaign by Special Olympics Israel this perception is turned on its head.View Story Often the perception is that people with intellectual disabilities should be hidden away. In a new TV campaign by Special Olympics Israel this perception is turned on its head. Audiences are asked to celebrate and support the achievement of Special Olympics athletes competing in the upcoming World Summer Games in Los Angeles who will bring honor to the nation. The campaign profiles separately two athletes - Elad and Oren - who talk about how good it feels to be the centre of attention, to be different and to celebrate victory. The campaigns will be shown on five national TV channels over the month of June and supported by a billboard campaign in select cities.

About Reuven Astrachan :I am responsible for communications & marketing at Special Olympics Israel.
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May 26, 2015 | Europe Eurasia: Switzerland

Pride for Team Switzerland is contagious

By Irene Nanculaf

Pride for Team Switzerland is spreading rapidly across the Olympic city of Lausanne as they prepare to host 71 Special Olympics athletes in a Team Switzerland Delegation CampView Story Pride for Team Switzerland is spreading rapidly across the Olympic city of Lausanne as they prepare to host 71 Special Olympics athletes in a Team Switzerland Delegation Camp from June 4th to 6th ahead of the Team’s journey to Los Angeles for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games. In a vibrant video prepared by the city, hundreds of local personalities pass on badges with the word “Fiers” which means “proud” in the Swiss language. Team Switzerland is a delegation of 102 persons and will compete in the following sports: aquatics, athletics, basketball, bocce, cycling, equestrian, male and female soccer, golf, judo, sailing, table tennis, and tennis. The team will represent the three language areas from Switzerland.

About Irene Nanculaf:I am responsible for Communications at Special Olympics Switzerland.
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May 18, 2015 | SOI: Europe-Eurasia

Golf and Football Stars Unite for Special Olympics

By Suzanne Coogan

2014 Ryder Cup Captain, Paul McGinley (left) and Special Olympics Spain athlete Eduardo Vegas Ochoa

Stars from golf and football united at the PGA Catalunya Golf Resort in Spain to raise funds to send 78 athletes with intellectual disabilities to represent Team Spain at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games.View Story Stars from golf and football united at the PGA Catalunya Golf Resort in Spain to raise funds to send 78 athletes with intellectual disabilities to represent Team Spain at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games. 19 athletes will come from Catalunya. More than 20 teams signed up to play in the Golf Classic hosted by The 2014 Ryder Cup winning captain, Paul McGinley. Teams included football greats Johan Cruyff, Christian Karembeu and David O’Leary. Golf pros Paula Martí from Spain and Ireland's Peter Lawrie, as well as Special Olympics athlete Eduardo Vegas Ochoa from Madrid, who plays off a handicap of 20.2. “I am really honoured to host the first ever Special Olympics Golf Classic at such a magnificent course as PGA Catalunya Resort and to have so much support. I want to wish Team Spain every success at the LA World Games this summer. My advice is the same advice I gave to Team Europe at The 2014 Ryder Cup, “embrace the pressure but do everything with a smile on your face."

About Suzanne Coogan:Senior Manager of Media and Public Awareness, Special Olympics Europe Eurasia
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May 18, 2015 | North America: Tennessee

Powerlifting Training at La Manga

By Chip Hultquist

Powerlifting coaches Farshid Soltani, Todd Youngblood, and Special Olympics athlete Dion Thomas at the La Manga Sports Training Resort

On April 16-18 2015, Special Olympics Powerlifting athlete Dion Thomas along with Special Olympics coaches Todd Youngblood and Chip Hultquist attended the International Powerlifting Federation's (IPF) Powerlifting Coaching Certification Course in La Manga, Spain.View Story On April 16-18 2015, Special Olympics Powerlifting athlete Dion Thomas along with Special Olympics coaches Todd Youngblood and Chip Hultquist attended the International Powerlifting Federation's (IPF) Powerlifting Coaching Certification Course in La Manga, Spain. Special Olympics participated in the training at the invitation of Mr. Gaston Parage, IPF President, as a way to strengthen the understanding and partnership between the IPF and Special Olympics. The training was conducted by Ralph Farquharson and Dietmar Wolf, both executive members of the IPF, and was designed to provide participants with the best scientifically validated powerlifting coaching techniques and processes. Among other topics, the training addressed proper technique, injury prevention, periodization and the role of the coach. The information provided at the training will be used to update the online Special Olympics Powerlifting Coaching Guide that should be available after the 2015 Special Olympics World Games.

About Chip Hultquist:Chip Hultquist has been involved in Special Olympics and open powerlifting for over 30 years as a coach, coach trainer, Unified partner, official and competition director.
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May 15, 2015 | SOI General: Headquarters

The Flame of Hope is Ignited in Athens

By Christy White

On Thursday, 14 May the Special Olympics Flame of Hope for the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015, was lit during a formal torch lighting ceremony at the Sacred Site of Pnyx, opposite the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.View Story On Thursday, 14 May the Special Olympics Flame of Hope for the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015, was lit during a formal torch lighting ceremony at the Sacred Site of Pnyx, opposite the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. The Flame of Hope begins its trans-Atlantic journey via UPS Airlines, which will transport the flame to Washington, D.C. in time for the start of the Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America, presented by Bank of America, which will kick off on 26 May. At the conclusion of the Unified Relay, the Flame of Hope will be handed over to the 2015 Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Final Leg Team where they will travel for 13 days to more than 120 cities and towns throughout California, honoring the spirit of the Special Olympics global movement and delivering a message of hope to communities where people with intellectual disabilities continue to fight for acceptance and inclusion. To read more about the lighting ceremony, click below.

About Christy White:I am the Director of Global Media and Public Relations for Special Olympics.
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Special Olympics Blog

Jean Vanier, a prophet of humility and simplicity, wins!

Today, the Templeton Foundation gave its most prestigious award to my hero, Jean Vanier.  For Linda and our children and me, he has also been our retreat leader, our teacher of humility, our guide. 

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Posted on 2015-03-11 by Tim

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