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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


June 25, 2015 | Europe Eurasia: Israel

SO Israel- First Athlete Leadership Seminar completed (ALP’s)

By Reuven Astrachan

Sixteen athletes from different sports had completed the first Athlete Leadership seminar that was held by Special Olympics Israel. Their parents were amazed at the big difference they saw in their athletes, before and after the course.View Story Sixteen athletes from different sports had completed the first Athlete Leadership seminar that was held by Special Olympics Israel. The athletes met 6 times at the Wingate Sport Institute, on Fridays, for about 3 hours every meeting. During the seminar the athletes learned how to deliver a short speech. The idea behind this is to have the athletes themselves become the best ambassadors of Special Olympics. During the course, the athletes exercised standing straight before an audience, keeping their speech short (3 minutes-timed by a sand clock), keeping eye contact with their listeners, smiling while speaking, speaking loud and clear. A special session was dedicated to learning about the history of Special Olympics, the great role of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the philosophy of Special Olympics, unique things about the organization (such as Unified Sports, divisioning, Healthy Athlete, Youth Activation, etc.) . The goal was to get them to identify with Special Olympics and get to know the great picture of the organization, and not only focus on their sport, and themselves. Make them be proud to be part of this wonderful organization. When they felt ready ,a video was taken of each one carrying his/her speech before the class. They learned to listen to remarks given by buddies, and learned to remark to others in a friendly way- no offense, while analyzing each speaker.To the last meeting the parents were invited. Each athlete spoke for up to 3 minutes in front of the whole class and parents. Their assignment was to present themselves, the sports they take part in, talk about how Special Olympics made a difference in their lives, and share their future dreams with everyone. The parents were amazed at the big difference they saw in their athletes, before and after the course. They were moved by the new ability the athletes mastered so well. Five of the Athletes will practice their new ability as “athlete spokesmen” for the Israeli delegation at the LA World Games in July.

About Reuven Astrachan:I am National Director & National Sports Director
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June 25, 2015 | North America: Southern California

U.S. First Lady Joins LA2015 Opening Ceremony

By Steven Vanderpool

The 2015 Special Olympics World Games is proud to announce Michelle Obama's attendance at the Opening Ceremony on July 25, 2015, celebrating the commencement of the world's largest sports and humanitarian event this year.View Story The 2015 Special Olympics World Games (LA2015) is proud to announce Michelle Obama's attendance at the Opening Ceremony on July 25, 2015, celebrating the commencement of the world's largest sports and humanitarian event this year. The First Lady of the United States serves as an honorary co-chair of the World Games with President Barack Obama. "The First Lady's attendance complemented by the diversity of these talented performers will make the Opening Ceremony an extraordinary moment for Los Angeles and for the Special Olympics movement," said LA2015 President and CEO Patrick McClenahan. "We look forward to sharing the excitement of the Opening Ceremony with millions of people worldwide."

About Steven Vanderpool:I am Senior Vice President, Communications and Media Operations, for Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015.
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June 23, 2015 | Middle East North Africa: Syria

Special Olympics Middle- East North Africa Athletes in action

By Noha Gaballa

Every day, all around the Middle-East North Africa region, Special Olympics athletes train and strive as they train for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer games in Los Angeles from 25 July- 2 August 2015.View Story Every day, all around the Middle-East North Africa region, Special Olympics athletes train and strive as they train for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer games in Los Angeles from 25 July- 2 August 2015. The Special Olympics athletes in the MENA region prepare through daily intense, focused physical and psychological training. They also attend training camps to prepare themselves to communicate to the whole world their abilities and talents. Also the coaches play a crucial role to determine the ideal training plan to make the athletes reach their peak performance just as the games occurs. On the other side they motivate athletes to give their best and showcase all their skills & magic power. Both Special Olympics athletes and coaches are really dedicated and they work very hard to reach their goal and amaze the world in Los Angeles.

About Noha Gaballa:Noha Gaballa, Special Olympics Middle East-North Africa staff writer
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June 23, 2015 | Europe Eurasia: Italy

Pope Meets Italian Special Olympics Athletes

By Maureen Rabbitt

On June 19th Pope Francis held an audience for Italy's 150 Special Olympics athletes traveling to Los Angeles to compete in the 2015 World Summer Games. During his remarks, Pope Francis reflected on the promise of sports.View Story On June 19th Pope Francis held an audience for Italy's 150 Special Olympics athletes traveling to Los Angeles to compete in the 2015 World Summer Games. During his remarks, Pope Francis reflected on the promise of sports. “It is beautiful and meaningful that young people and adults find in sport and participation in competitions, including at an international level, an incentive to live their life fully,” he said. “It is a challenge, and you have accepted it and ‘taken the field’.” “I encourage you to continue in your efforts to help each other to discover your potential and to love life, to appreciate it in all its limits and above all, its beautiful sides.” The Pope also encouraged the Special Olympians to make friends from around the world. Chairman Tim Shriver presented Pope Francis with a Unified Relay Torch and the red iconic Special Olympics Play Unified ball.

About Maureen Rabbitt:I am responsible for Communications & Branding at Special Olympics Europe Eurasia.
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June 18, 2015 | North America: Southern California

Star-studded LA2015 Opening Ceremony

By Christy White

Stevie Wonder, Avril Lavigne, O.A.R., Cody Simpson, Nicole Scherzinger, J Balvin and Reach Up LA theme song creator Siedah Garrett will headline the Opening Ceremony of the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles. Appearances by Jimmy Kimmel, Eva Longoria, Michael Phelps, Yao Ming, GView Story Stevie Wonder, Avril Lavigne, O.A.R., Cody Simpson, Nicole Scherzinger, J Balvin and Reach Up LA theme song creator Siedah Garrett will headline the Opening Ceremony of the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles. Appearances by Jimmy Kimmel, Eva Longoria, Michael Phelps, Yao Ming, Greg Louganis, Stephanie McMahon, and Lauren Potter (one of the most popular actresses with an intellectual disability) among others, the show is set to be one of the most inspirational events Los Angeles has ever hosted. Nearly 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 170 countries will be welcomed at the Opening Ceremony, held at the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. More than 60,000 fans including Royalty, Heads of State and Government, and other distinguished personalities will cheer on the athletes inside the Coliseum, while a global audience can watch coverage provided by ESPN, the official broadcast partner of the World Games.

About Christy White:I am director of media and public relations for Special Olympics International.
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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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