First lady Michelle Obama inaugurated the Special Olympic World Games in Los Angeles yesterday. About 6,500 athletes from 165 countries gathered at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to cheers and roars. They will be participating in 25 sports over nine days — from weightlifting to the triathlon. The last time so many athletes got together in Los Angeles was in 1984 for the Summer Olympics.
The inaugural ceremony lasted three hours and was broadcast on ESPN. Global ambassadors partnered with celebrities onstage. There were fireworks and performances by Avril Lavigne, Stevie Wonder, etc.
The games were started by President John Kennedy’s sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver. She used to hold informal backyard competitions at her home before deciding to take the competition international in 1968. Eunice was a good athlete and she was frustrated by the lack of opportunities for women in the 1930s and 40s. She also saw how much worse it was for the intellectually challenged and the seed of an idea has grown into what it is today.
Three Hawai’i athletes have been selected to participate in Special Olympics’ 2015 World Games. Chaunci Cummings, Ikaika Morita-Sunada, and Isaiah Wong will represent not only the islands but the whole country as members of Special Olympics USA. This year’s Special Olympics World Games will take place July 25 – August 2, 2015.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin
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