Latest Sports Scores

Scoreboard

  • ALL
  • NBA
  • NHL
  • NCAAB
  • NBA
  • 2/24 7:00 PM EST
    MEM0
    IND0
  • 2/24 7:00 PM EST
    WAS0
    PHI0
  • 2/24 8:00 PM EST
    BOS0
    TOR0
  • 2/24 8:00 PM EST
    DAL0
    MIN0
  • 2/24 8:00 PM EST
    UTA0
    MIL0
  • 2/24 8:00 PM EST
    LAL0
    OKC0
  • 2/24 8:00 PM EST
    MIA0
    ATL0
  • 2/24 8:00 PM EST
    PHO0
    CHI0
  • 2/24 9:00 PM EST
    BKN0
    DEN0
  • 2/24 10:30 PM EST
    SA0
    LAC0
  • NHL
  • 2/24 7:00 PM EST
    EDM0
    WSH0
  • 2/24 7:30 PM EST
    CGY0
    FLA0
  • 2/24 7:30 PM EST
    OTT0
    CAR0
  • 2/24 8:30 PM EST
    ARI0
    DAL0
  • CBK
  • 2/24 10:00 PM EST
    OREST0
    CAL0

Star-studded opening ceremony for LA's 2015 Special Olympics

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Final Leg of Special Olympics Torch Run in LA


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Some 6,500 athletes from 165 countries — the most to converge on Los Angeles since the 1984 Summer Olympics — have poured into town this week to hit tennis balls, kick soccer balls, swim laps, ride horses, lift weights, even run a triathlon in the 2015 Special Olympics World Games.

But first it's time to party!

The games kick off Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with a rousing opening ceremony featuring music, inspirational messages and lots of celebrity appearances.

First lady Michelle Obama is to deliver the opening message, followed by musical performances by Avril Lavigne, Stevie Wonder, Colombian reggaeton artist J Balvin and others.

5 PHOTOS
2015 Special Olympics
See Gallery
Star-studded opening ceremony for LA's 2015 Special Olympics
Cheerleaders pose for a photo before the opening ceremony of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, July 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The Special Olympics, the world's largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, will be the single largest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympics, with more that 7,000 athletes from 165 countries participating. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Cheerleaders from Dallas, Texas warm up before the opening ceremony of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, July 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The Special Olympics, the world's largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, will be the single largest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympics, with more that 7,000 athletes from 165 countries participating. AFP PHOTO/MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Cheerleaders pose for a photo before the opening ceremony of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, July 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The Special Olympics, the world's largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, will be the single largest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympics, with more that 7,000 athletes from 165 countries participating. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 24: (L-R) Producer Nigel Lythgoe and British Consul General Chris O'Connor attend LA Garden Party Welcomes The 2015 Special Olympics World Games Great Britain Team at The British Residence on July 24, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Emmy Award-winning choreographer Debbie Allen is directing the three-hour program being broadcast live by ESPN.

The real stars of the show, however, are expected to be the 6,500 athletes. They have come from all parts of the world to participate in 25 sports events over nine days.

"There's no greater global stage than Los Angeles to create the awareness that leads to acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities," said Patrick McClenahan, president and CEO of LA2015, the nonprofit group that brought the Special Olympics back to Los Angeles for the first time since 1972.

McClenahan is a veteran broadcast executive and father of a daughter with autism.

Competition is open to athletes 8 years or older with intellectual disabilities that result in certain limitations in cognitive function and other skills. To reach the world stage, participants must take part in a sanctioned regional competition.

This week, they are being welcomed to Los Angeles by an all-star lineup of gold medalists from the traditional Olympics, including swimmer Michael Phelps, diver Greg Louganis and decathlon champ Rafer Johnson. The latter helped organize the first Special Olympics World Games in Chicago in 1968.

The games were the brainchild of President John Kennedy's sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who held informal backyard competitions at her home before deciding to take the competition international in 1968. She said she believed everybody should have a chance to feel special.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners