Los Angeles will host the Special Olympics World Summer Games in 2015, it was announced Wednesday.
The Special Olympics provides opportunities for mentally disabled athletes – the organization prefers to call “intellectually disabled” – to compete in 21 Olympic-type sports.
The event is expected to be a significant tourism opportunity for the greater Los Angeles area, drawing potentially a half-million people from around the world including an estimated 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from 170 nations.
“Bringing our World Games to a city as powerful and prominent on the world stage as Los Angeles will allow our Special Olympics athletes to showcase their talents and demonstrate to the world the best in sports,” Dr. Timothy P. Shriver, chairman of the Special Olympics International Board of Directors, said in a statement.
Patrick McClenahan, chairman of the Los Angeles Bid Committee, has been named president and chief executive of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games Organizing Committee. Griffith Park, Staples Center and the Carson's Home Depot Center are expected to be among the venues for events, with UCLA and USC student housing providing rooms for the athletes.
Founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the first Special Olympics World Games took place in 1968. It has evolved into a respected international sporting event that attracts a wide range of sponsors, supporters and media. Alternating between summer and winter Games, the most recent Summer Olympics took place earlier this year in Greece. The next Winter Olympics is scheduled for 2012 in Korea.