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Special Olympics World Games coming to LA in 2015

April 4th, 2014 · No Comments · Community

Before the Special Olympics World Games begin on July 25, 2015, 7,000 athletes from 177 countries will be welcomed to Southern California with a three-day “Host Town” program from July 21 to 24. The Host Town program will welcome the athletes to Southern California with three days of cultural events, sports training and relaxation. One hundred communities from San Luis Obispo to San Diego will have the honor of becoming official host towns, with Long Beach being named the first official community selected to participate.
“The Host Town program is an exciting way for Southern California locals to open our doors and show the athletes and coaches from around the world our hospitality and our culture,” said Patrick McClenahan, president and chief executive officer of LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee. “This is an important part of the World Games experience and a truly meaningful way for different communities to be part of the Games and create lasting memories for our visiting athletes.”
LA2015 is actively identifying potential Host Town candidates to be considered for the program. Communities are evaluated on the availability of lodging accommodations, sports practice facilities and recreation/entertainment offerings for the athletes, among other criteria. Host Towns are also responsible for planning activities for the athletes to introduce them to the community and help spread the word about the Games. More Host Town selections will be announced in the coming weeks.
As the first Host Town, Long Beach continues a longstanding history of supporting Special Olympics. Long Beach has been the headquarters for the Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) chapter since 2007 and has hosted the SOSC Summer Games for the last 15 years at CSULB. In addition to serving as a Host Town, Long Beach will also be the site for several 2015 World Games events: Alamitos Beach and the Long Beach Marine Stadium will be home to cycling, the half-marathon, triathlon, beach volleyball, open-water swimming and kayaking.
“Long Beach has always been proud to support Special Olympics, and now, with the World Games coming to Los Angeles, it felt natural for us to open our doors to these amazing international athletes,” said Bob Foster, mayor of Long Beach. “It is a true privilege for us to welcome them to our city and be a part of this monumental event.”
The Host Town program has been an important element of Special Olympics World Games since 1995, and 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.
It was definitely a highlight of the World Games for me,” said Kristin Knutson, who attended the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, where Knutson was hosted by the Island of Rhodes. “Being welcomed by the locals was truly touching and experiencing the beautiful scenery and culture firsthand was something I will never forget.”
Communities interested in serving as Host Towns can learn more by visiting the World Games website at LA2015.org/host-town.

Source: Special Olympics

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