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Special Olympics World Games

Russell Garrigan, Librarian, Teen'Scape,
Special Olympics

This year, the Special Olympics World Games will take place in Los Angeles.  500,000 spectators, and 30,000 volunteers, and 3000 coaches, and 7000 athletes, and 177 countries—all will come together in Los Angeles. The games begin on July 25 and continue for 9 days. A few more interesting facts about the games:

  • Number of sports: 25
  • Number of venues: 27
  • Opening ceremonies will take place at the Los Angeles Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games
  • Media Representatives: 2,000
  • Honorary Chairs of the Games are President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Jerry Brown will serve as Honorary Hosts.

The Olympic Games have a long tradition.  They began originally 3,000 years ago in Greece.  By the 19th century they had become the preeminent sporting competition.  The games were held every four years in Olympia, located in the western Peloponnese peninsula, in honor of the god Zeus.  By 1896, the modern games began in Athens. 

The Special Olympics started in 1968.  Founded by Eunice Shriver, the Special Olympics began as a summer camp in her backyard for children and young adults challenged by disabilities.  The success of the summer camp led to the creation of the Special Olympics.  The first Special Olympics was hosted by the city of Chicago in 1968.

From the Special Olympics website:

The Los Angeles Games will also provide a venue for global discussions and action on the impact Special Olympics can have on the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. More than 200 million people worldwide have an intellectual disability, making it the largest disability group worldwide. Intellectual disability crosses racial, ethnic, educational, social and economic lines, and can occur in any family. 

Information about the Special Olympics games can be found at

Recommended reading from the LAPL collection:

Special Olympics: the first 25 years (1994)
By Bueno, Ana
796 B928

Special Olympics (2002)
By Kennedy, Mike
x 796 K355-6

Fully alive: discovering what matters most (2014)
By Shriver, Timothy
796.231 S561