Special Olympics Kicks Off One-Year Countdown to 2015 World Games

Los Angeles is getting ready to host its largest sporting event since 1984 -- with thousands of athletes and coaches and featuring 25 Olympic-style sports competitions.

Press Release

Los Angeles, California  - One year from today more than 7,000 athletes from 177 countries will march into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, cheered on by 80,000 spectators as part of the Opening Ceremony for the world’s largest sports and humanitarian event in 2015 - the Special Olympics World Games 2015 (LA2015). The Special Olympics World Games have been held since 1968, founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who had a vision to create a world that is inclusive of all people, including those with intellectual disabilities.

Next year's Special Olympics World Summer Games are the first to be held in the United States in 16 years; the most recent Summer Games were held in Athens, Shanghai and Dublin. The upcoming Los Angeles World Games will be the largest sporting event hosted by the city since the 1984 Summer Olympic  Games. The 2015 Special Olympics World Games, with the unparalleled spirit, enthusiasm, teamwork, joy and displays of courage and skill that are the hallmarks of all Special Olympics events, will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the Los Angeles region. Before any competition begins, 100 host towns from across Southern California will welcome participating athletes with three days of local cultural experiences.

"In 365 days, we will have the opportunity to raise the awareness that leads to acceptance and inclusion for 200 million people worldwide with intellectual disabilities," said Patrick McClenahan, President and Chief Executive Officer of LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee. "There is still much more to do, but momentum is on our side, and these Games will change the lives of people around the world who are mistreated and excluded because they're 'different.'"

In addition to the sporting events, the Special Olympics World Games also provide participating athletes with access to the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program. Through this program, volunteer healthcare professionals will provide free screenings and health services for the athletes on site. To date, the Healthy Athletes program has conducted 1.4 million exams for people with intellectual disabilities in 120 countries and has trained over 120,000 healthcare professionals.

"For athletes like me, the one-year countdown brings the excitement of the competition of the World Games a little closer to reality," said Debi Anderson, World Games Global Messenger. "The time for all of the athletes to shine and show the world what we can do will be here before we know it. I can't wait to join with the American public in welcoming my fellow athletes from around the world."

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 www.support.la2015.org. For more information about the World Games, please visit www.LA2015.org/one-year-away and on social with #TheWorldisComing on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


Steven Vanderpool
LA2015, Vice President, Communications
Office: 213-892-6069
Mobile: 626-375-9208

Alyson Campbell
Fleishman Hillard
Office: 310-482-4282
Mobile: 646-895-2841

About the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games

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, Kaiser Permanente, Davis Elen Advertising, AEG, David Geffen, Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw, The Walt Disney Company, Knights of Columbus and Bank of America. 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.

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 33 Olympic-type sports and more than 81,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including the Christmas Records Trust, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics®, The Coca-Cola Company, The Walt Disney Company and ESPN, Lions Clubs International, Mattel, P&G, Bank of America, Essilor Vision Foundation, the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation, Finish Line, The Safeway Foundation, and Safilo Group. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org. Engage with us on: twitter@specialolympics, fb.com/specialolympics, youtube.com/specialolympicshq, instagram.com/specialolympics and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.