This summer, the USC campus will host all competitive events for the 2014 Special Olympics Southern California Summer Games Invitational from June 6 to 8 including track and field, swimming, basketball, gymnastics and bocce, according to an email from Provost and Senior Vice President Elizabeth Garrett sent on Tuesday.
The next year, USC will join UCLA in co-hosting the 2015 Special Olympics, last held in the United States 16 years ago. Sixty-five hundred athletes, 500,000 spectators, 3,000 officials and 18,000 volunteers will join the Los Angeles population for the largest global organized sports and humanitarian event of 2015 from July 25 to Aug. 2. USC will host the track and field, basketball and swimming events.
“As the president of the University of Southern California, I want you to know how proud I am that USC and this city will host the 2015 Special Olympics,” USC President C. L. Max Nikias said, according to USC News. “For more than 43 years, the Special Olympics have been a shining symbol of the triumph of the human spirit.”
Founded in 1968, the Special Olympics gives opportunities to the disabled to compete in athletic events on a grand scale. The event also brings attention to the mentally disabled. Since its inception, the event has grown from a few hundred to more than 4 million athletes.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will serve as honorary co-chairs of the 2015 Special Olympics. California Gov. Jerry Brown and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will be honorary hosts.
“Michelle and I are so honored to serve as co-chairs of this inspiring event. The Special Olympics honors a tradition that started more than 50 years ago … at Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s house. Today, that simple day camp has grown into one of the biggest sporting competitions in the world for people with intellectual disabilities,” Obama said in a video statement. “The athletes coming to these games represent the grit and determination that’s at the very root of the American spirit.”
A complete event calendar for the 2015 games will be published soon, according to Garrett. The 2015 World Games’ Opening Ceremonies will take place nearby the USC campus — at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum -— on July 25, 2015. Closing Ceremonies will take place at Dodger Stadium.
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