The LA84 Foundation, which was endowed with surplus funds from the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, announced Tuesday a $250,000 grant for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games to be held in and around the city this summer.
The gift will help cover athlete and equipment expenses as well as venue costs for what’s being touted as the largest sporting event in the city since the 1984 Games. Organizers say 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers, are scheduled to take part from July 25-Aug. 2.
“The LA84 Foundation is pleased to partner with Southern California Olympians and Paralympians in support of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games,” said Anita L. DeFrantz, president of the LA84 Foundation and executive board member of the International Olympic Committee.
“As the legacy of the 1984 Olympic Games, we recognize the tremendous impact that the Special Olympics World Games will have in bringing together the residents of Los Angeles to celebrate and applaud the efforts of the Special Olympics athletes,” she said.
This Sunday, World Games athletes will partner with local Olympians and Paralympians for a special Unified Relay at the ASICS LA Marathon. Each pair of runners will complete at least a two-mile leg of the 26.2-mile course from Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica Pier.
“Olympians and Paralympians have reached the highest pinnacle in sports,” DeFrantz said. “They will be proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Special Olympics athletes who have demonstrated the same level of commitment to success in the field of play.”
The Special Olympics World Games will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the Los Angeles region. The opening ceremony in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, is expected to attract 80,000 spectators.
A total of a half-million spectators are expected during the course of the games, with ESPN bringing the games to millions more around the world.
Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions in dozens of countries.
— City News Service
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