LOS ANGELES, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) — Los Angeles will host the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games, the organizers announced here Wednesday.
In less than four years, Los Angeles is expected to welcome more than 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from 170 countries and regions to compete in 21 Olympic-type sports, and gather more than a half-million people, according to the Special Olympics International Board of Directors.
"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 as he awarded the event to Los Angeles at the Staples Center.
Timothy Shriver told Xinhua that Los Angeles won the bid for its fantastic facilities and its deep understanding of the mission of Special Olympics.
"So we couldn’t say no. They had it all. They have everything we wanted to do the future of our movement, which is centered on the idea that we can teach true sport, the power of unity, we think this is the best place in the world to teach that lesson," he said.
Patrick McClenahan, president and chief executive officer of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games Organizing Committee, told Xinhua that Los Angeles is able to create a world stage for these athletes to perform on, to show their skills, courage and spirit of joy.
"When that happens, people see that, and their perceptions are changed. And it becomes of appreciation, for what they can do, that start to change the way about people with disabilities start to including them and accepting them more," he said.
Till 2015, the Olympic Games will return to United States, after the 1999 Raleigh Game in North Carolina. Los Angeles hosted the 1984 Olympic Games. It is widely believed that Los Angeles would bring Special Olympic to a different level, said the Special Olympics Directors.
The Special Olympics was founded in 1968 by Timothy Shriver’s mother Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a member of the Kennedy family and sister to former U.S. President John F. Kennedy. It has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 3.7 million athletes in over 170 countries and regions in all regions of the world.
It has been committed to encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide through the power of sport.
"It is not an event, but a movement," said Timothy Shriver.
China’s Shanghai hosted the Special Olympics in 2007. The most recent one was completed in Athens, Greece in July this year. South Korea will host the 2013 Special Olympics.