Los Angeles one of two finalists being considered to host the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games

If selected, Los Angeles will host thousands of athletes from throughout the world

 

Long Beach, Calif., Jan. 5, 2011 – Special Olympics International announced yesterday that Los Angeles is one of two finalists being considered to host the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games. The other bid finalist is South Africa.

Like the Olympics, the Special Olympics World Games include summer and winter versions and are held every four years. It is one of the world’s largest sporting events, drawing as many, if not more, athletes than the Olympics. The World Games celebrates sports and the abilities and accomplishments of individuals with intellectual disabilities.

As chairman of the Special Olympics Southern California Board of Directors, Patrick McClenahan is leading the Los Angeles Bid Committee. “The World Summer Games has a tremendous impact on our Special Olympics athletes, families, volunteers, and fans,” McClenahan said. “The power of Special Olympics lies in its ability, through sports, to promote tolerance, acceptance and inclusion. I can’t think of a more positive and uplifting event to bring to the people of Los Angeles.”

This prominent world stage brings attention not only to the host country but to the Special Olympics movement. Heads of state, global leaders, professional sports figures, and celebrities attend the Special Olympics World Games.

Next summer, Athens, Greece, will host the World Summer Games with more than 7,500 athletes from 185 countries (including eight from Southern California) competing in 22 sports. It will be the world’s largest sporting event of 2011.

The bid committee is in the process of developing a bid package to submit to Special Olympics International by March 1, 2011, which includes a plan for sports venues, housing, transportation and funding. The expenses for training, competitions and public awareness activities would be funded by private individuals, foundations and corporate sponsorships. The Special Olympics International Board of Directors will announce the selection of the host for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in late May 2011, following a special meeting.

“Special Olympics Southern California has been changing the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities for more than 40 years,” said Bill Shumard, President & CEO of Special Olympics Southern California. “Hosting the World Summer Games in Los Angeles will showcase the remarkable progress we’ve made, introduce our local program to new supporters and allow us to do even greater things for athletes throughout Southern California.”

Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded Special Olympics in 1968, and before her death in Aug. 2010, was a leader in the worldwide struggle to improve and enhance the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Joining McClenahan and Shumard on the Los Angeles Bid Committee are Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and County Supervisor Don Knabe, and the following community leaders and sports figures:

• Chief Roberta Abner, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

• Bill Allen, President & CEO, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation

• Rick Caruso, President & CEO, Caruso Affiliated

• Anita DeFrantz, President, LA84 Foundation

• Rob Friedman, Chairman & CEO, Summit Entertainment

• Rafer Johnson, Olympic Decathlon Gold Medalist and Founder, Special Olympics Southern California

• Tim Leiweke, President & CEO, AEG

• Mark Liberman, President & CEO, LA INC. The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau

• Maidie Oliveau, Sports Attorney, Arent Fox

• Barry Sanders, President, Recreation and Parks of Los Angeles Board of Commissioners

• Kathryn Schloessman, President, LA Sports & Entertainment Commission

• David Simon, President, Los Angeles Sports Council

• Gary Toebben, President and CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

Media Resources

##

Special Olympics is an international sports organization that encourages and empowers individuals with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Special Olympics Southern California has been changing lives through the power of sport for more than 40 years and provides individuals with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. Special Olympics Southern California appreciates the support of its year-round Mission Partners: KTLA, Law Enforcement Torch Run, Summit Entertainment, Toyota, and The Vons Foundation. For more information about how to compete, coach or contribute to Special Olympics Southern California, visit www.sosc.org.

Media Contact

Kim Pine, Special Olympics Southern California
kpine@sosc.org, 562.354.2611; cell 562.221.3787

 -----------------------------------

2015 Special Olympics World Games FAQ

What is Special Olympics?

Special Olympics is an international sports organization that encourages and empowers children and adults with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to nearly 3.5 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship.

What are the Special Olympics World Games?

The Special Olympics World Games is an international sporting competition for athletes with intellectual disabilities. Like the Olympic Games, the Special Olympics World Games include summer and winter versions, and are held every four years.

Why Los Angeles is being considered to host the 2015 World Summer Games?

The City of Los Angeles is among the largest and best known cities in the world. It is an international center of sports, education, entertainment, culture, technology and tourism, which are all needed to execute an event on the magnitude of the World Summer Games. Its experience as host to the Olympic Games in 1984 also makes Los Angeles attractive to host the World Games. In addition, Special Olympics Southern California is home to one of the premier Special Olympics programs in the world, with thousands of athletes and supporters.

What are the plans for holding the World Games in Los Angeles?

The Los Angeles Bid Committee will submit a final plan to Special Olympics International by March 1, 2011, which includes sports venues, housing, transportation and funding. Details about the plan will be released at that time.

How many Special Olympics athletes, volunteers and spectators will participate in the World Games?

Figures for the 2011 World Summer Games in Athens, Greece include 7,500 athletes, 40,000 volunteers, and 500,000 spectators. We expect a comparable amount, possibly more, if the World Games are brought to Los Angeles.

How many sports are played at World Games?

Twenty-two. Sports include Aquatics, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Bocce, Bowling, Cycling, Equestrian, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Judo, Kayaking, Powerlifting, Roller skating, Sailing, Softball, Table Tennis, Handball, Tennis, and Volleyball.

How much does it cost the athletes to participate in the World Games?

As with all Special Olympics events, Special Olympics World Games are offered free of charge to all selected athletes thanks to the generous support of our Special Olympics friends and corporate sponsors.

 

Created by the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation. Authorized and Accredited by
Special Olympics, Inc. for the Benefit of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities.

© 2008 - 2010 Special Olympics Southern California