2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games

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14th Special Olympics World Summer Games
LosAngeles2015SpecialOlympicsLogo Black Font.png
Host city Los Angeles, United States
Motto Reach Up L.A.[1]
Nations participating 177
Athletes participating 6,500
Events in 25 sports
Opening ceremony July 25, 2015
Closing ceremony August 2, 2015
Officially opened by Michelle Obama
Athlete's Oath Jamaal Charles
Torch Lighter Rafer Johnson and Destiny Sanchez
Main venue Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Website www.la2015.org

The 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games are a multi-sport event for athletes with intellectual disabilities being held in Los Angeles, United States from July 25 to August 2, 2015, in the tradition of the Special Olympics movement. These Games, hosting around 6,500 athletes from 177 countries,[1] marked the first time in sixteen years that the biennial Special Olympics World Summer Games have been hosted by the United States, and the second hosted by Los Angeles since 1972.


The 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games were awarded to Los Angeles on September 15, 2011, beating a bid by South Africa. The city's bid was backed by Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa, who had backed the city's bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics (which were ultimately awarded to Rio de Janeiro. Villaraigosa however, felt "prouder" that the city would host the Special Olympics. Patrick McClenahan, chief of the organizing committee, had encountered representatives of Special Olympics International at the Southern California Law Enforcement Torch Run, a local event benefitting Special Olympics Southern California, who suggested that the city bid for 2015. The bid quickly garnered support, with his committee having grown to 20 members, including athletes and Mayor Villaraigosa, only two weeks later. Amongst other receptions held during a visit by the selection committee to Los Angeles, a group of Special Olympics athletes participating in the World Summer Games in Athens were honored between quarters at a Los Angeles Lakers basketball game that the committee were attending, resulting in a ovation from fans in attendance.

Of the bid, McClenahan stated that "In a city full of movie stars and sports stars, the athletes are going to be the stars of the show. "L.A. will create the world stage where the athletes can perform, show their skills and courage and determination and sportsmanship and as a result of that people come in contact with them and their perceptions change that leads to an awareness that leads to more inclusion and acceptance into the community."[2][3]


The opening ceremony of the Games were held on July 25, 2015 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The ceremony featured performances by J Balvin, Becky G, Siedah Garrett, Stevie Wonder, and Avril Lavinge. A pre-recorded message by President Barack Obama was played, while First Lady Michelle Obama gave a speech in-person. The Special Olympics' Flame of Hope was used by Rafer Johnson (who lit the same cauldron at the 1984 Summer Olympics) and Special Olympian Destiny Sanchez to light the stadium's Olympic cauldron.[1]

Sports and venues[edit]

Participating nations[edit]

Delegations to the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games[4]


  1. ^ a b c Plaschke, Bill. "Special Olympics opening ceremony is out of this world". The Los Angeles Times. The Los Angeles Tmes. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  2. ^ ""In a city full of stars" Special Olympians will stand out in Los Angeles in 2015". GamesBids.com. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  3. ^ "Los Angeles to host 2015 Special Olympics Summer Games". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  4. ^ "Delegations". 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games. 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games Organizing Committee. Retrieved 22 July 2015.