The countdown to Special Olympics begins

first_imgSpecial Olympics World Games celebrated its 100 Days Away Activation Thursday at the corner of McClintock Avenue and Jefferson Boulevard in anticipation of the upcoming summer games.Several locations throughout Los Angeles will be used for the games, including various venues at USC. The Los Angeles MemorialColiseum will host the opening and closing ceremonies while other campus facilities like the Galen Center, Cromwell Field and the Uytengsu Aquatic Center will host sporting events. This summer will be the first time since 1984 that Los Angeles has hosted a summer Special Olympics World Games.The 100 Days Away event was celebrated in several areas in Southern California, with host towns putting on local festivities. Residents of Huntington Beach piled surfboards on the sand, while the city of Santa Monica lit up the Ferris wheel with colors matching the Special Olympics World Games logo. Los Angeles International Airport also participated in promotion of the event by lighting up the airport’s pylons with the Game’s colors. A mural for the Games was further unveiled at the Coliseum.At USC, the event promoted awareness of the games by inviting students to take pictures with the Circle of Inclusion, a symbolic ring reflecting the logo’s colors. McCall Hall, director of communication relations and fan development for the games, said the logo represents connections among participants.“The circle features colors from each one of the delegations that is coming this summer. It also represents the diversity in L.A. in general,” Hall explained. “The figure in the middle of the circle is striking a celebratory pose. There’s been a lot of medical research and findings that indicate, even if you’re deaf or [blind], you still — out of excitement and joy — raise your arms.”The event also featured Uncle Bob’s Honey Dipped Fried Chicken food truck, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Special Olympics. The owner, Robert Copher, offered his truck for the event because of his close connection with Special Olympics, since he has a daughter with autism who bowls and plays soccer.“Normally, we’re parked downtown so I was supposed to be somewhere else today. But for this cause I would absolutely be here,” Copher said.Hall said the main goal of the event is to secure attendance for the sporting events, and she said USC students who will be near USC over the summer are encouraged to attend. According to Hall, the only ticketed events are the opening and closing ceremonies. The sporting events are otherwise for students.“We have a goal of 500,000 people coming out. We have 25 sports at 27 different venues this summer. The Galen Center will host basketball every single day so we’ve got space for 4,500 every day,” she said. “We have athletes coming from around the world, and one thing we don’t want is for the athletes to come to empty stands. So we have a program called ‘Fans in the Stands’ that is all about creating an atmosphere of excitement for our athletes.”Erica Barin, a senior majoring in health promotion and disease prevention studies, plans to volunteer for the summer games. Barin, who works at the student health center, said her interest in kids with disabilities carried over into the Special Olympics.“I’ve been really into … helping kids out in general. Having this event happen on campus is really cool so it’s the best of both worlds for me,” Barin said.The opening ceremony will take place on July 25 at the Coliseum. The rest of the games will take place from July 26 through Aug. 2.last_img

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