The Special Olympics Are Here!!

“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

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The 2015 Special Olympics World Games is taking place this week in Los Angeles, CA. Approximately 7,000 athletes will be participating in the World Games, representing over 170 nations around the world. There will be close to half a million people watching in person and many millions watching around the world on television. ESPN is the channel of choice for these world games.

I had the unforgettable pleasure of being a part of the opening ceremony last weekend. Countries were represented from Burkina Faso to U.S. Samoa & from American Samoa to Mauritius. There were countries that sent as few as 12 delegates to over 250 delegates. Every nation represented wore their traditional garb and waved to the crowd as their country was called. All week, these Olympians will be competing in games such as volleyball, badminton, swimming, power lifting and even a triathlon at different venues throughout Los Angeles.

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There were speeches from Tim Shriver & Maria Shriver who both spoke about their mother’s legacy and reason for starting the Special Olympics. Oscar De La Hoya & Eva Longoria also spoke and there were performances by Avril Lavigne and Spanish sensation J Balvin. Stevie Wonder wowed the crowd and the evening was topped off a speech from the First Lady of the United States of America, Mrs. Michelle Obama. She encouraged everyone to reach for their  dreams no matter what & that we all should carry a sense of pride in who we are no matter what our difficulties may be. I didn’t get the opportunity to meet her, but I was able to see her in person up close for the first time. Then I was a part of the closing song – ‘Reach Up L.A.!’ written by Siedah Garrett. There were over 100 people on the stage pumping up the crowd with choreographed moves & flags flying everywhere. It was a night to remember! I had a great time & felt privileged to be part of such an amazing event.

Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics World Games is the only of its kind. There are over 200,000,000 people around the world that suffer from intellectual disabilities. This includes people who have Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and even Autism. Visit http://LA2015.org for more information.

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