By Barry Janoff
July 25, 2014: With marketing and media partners such as ESPN, Coca-Cola, Mattel, Toyota and Deloitte on board, organizers of the Special Olympics World Games 2015 began their one-year countdown to what is being called the largest sporting event hosted by the city since the 1984 Olympic Summer Games.
The Special Olympics World Games 2015 are scheduled for July 25 - August 2, 2015, with more than 7,000 athletes from 177 countries, supported by some 30,000 volunteers, scheduled to participate.
The Opening Ceremony will take place July 25 in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which also hosted events for the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics.
The countdown begins as the U.S. Olympic Committee has invited representatives from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Washington DC to discuss the logistics and economics of a possible bid to host the 2024 Summer Games.
“In 365 days we will have the opportunity to raise the awareness that leads to acceptance and inclusion for 200 million people worldwide with intellectual disabilities,” Patrick McClenahan, president and CEO for LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee, said in a statement. “There is still much more to do, but momentum is on our side, and these Games will change the lives of people around the world who are mistreated and excluded because they’re ‘different.’”
The Special Olympics World Games have been held since 1968, founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Next year’s Special Olympics World Games are the first to be held in the U.S. in 16 years, Recent World Summer Games host nations include Athens, Shanghai and Dublin.
Founding Champion supporters include AEG, Bank of America, Mattel, Kate Capshaw & Steven Spielberg, Kaiser Permanente, The Coca-Cola Company, The David Geffen Foundation, The Walt Disney Company, The Knights of Columbus and Toyota, which signed on as the official automotive partner last week.
In addition to marketing and media support, partners are helping to grow the Special Olympics message and movement both at a local and national level.
The agreement provides ESPN with rights to the 2015 Special Olympics World Games Opening Ceremony from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, daily competition, Closing Ceremony and other cultural activities. ESPN said it would produce the Opening Ceremony live as well as a nightly highlights program
Viewers worldwide will have access to ESPN’s coverage via its networks and media platforms.
According to Debi Anderson, World Games global messenger, “For athletes like me, the one-year countdown brings the excitement of the competition of the World Games a little closer to reality. The time for all of the athletes to shine and show the world what we can do, will be here before we know it. I can’t wait to join with the American public in welcoming my fellow athletes from around the world.”
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