World Games Fireworks

Los Angeles 2015

The 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games opened on 25 July 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The 2015 Games feature competitions in aquatics, gymnastics, track and field, basketball, football (soccer) and many other summer sports involving 6,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities from around the world.

A World Games to Remember

Los Angeles was host to 6,500 Special Olympics athletes from 165 nations competing in 25 Olympic-type sports. It was a world stage for our athletes to demonstrate on the playing field their courage, determination and spirit of sportsmanship. “These Games will change the lives of people around the world who are mistreated and excluded because they’re ‘different,’” predicted Patrick McClenahan, President and Chief Executive Officer of LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee. And he was right.

Changing Attitudes

The Games also were 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 90,000 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 also provided a venue for global discussions and action on the impact Special Olympics can have on the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. As many as 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.