Santa Clarita To Serve as Special Olympics World Games 2015 Host Town

Special Olympics track athletes run with joy, regardless of how they finish. PHOTO BY CORY HANSEN

Special Olympics track athletes run with joy, regardless of how they finish. PHOTO BY CORY HANSEN

The City of Santa Clarita has been officially selected as a Host Town for the Special Olympics 2015 World Summer Games. Before the games begin on July 25, 2015, more than 7,000 athletes from 177 countries will be welcomed to Southern California through the “Host Town” program, which includes 100 communities from San Luis Obispo to San Diego. Host towns provide the athletes with hospitality, and treat them to a variety of culturally immersive experiences during their stay.

“The Host Town program is an exciting way for Southern California locals to open our doors and show the athletes and coaches from around the world our hospitality and our culture,” said Patrick McClenahan, president and chief executive officer of LA2015, the committee organizing the games. “This is an important part of the World Games experience and a truly meaningful way for different communities to be part of the Games and create lasting memories for our visiting athletes.”

The Host Town program, first established in 1995, has included local communities in Ireland, Japan, China, Greece, South Korea and the United States, all of which have previously hosted the Special Olympics World Games.

“Santa Clarita is one of the best places in Southern California to enjoy a variety of sports in an unmatched, family-friendly atmosphere,” said Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste. “We’ve hosted some of the world’s best athletes and are thrilled to roll out the red carpet again for participants of the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015. The City and our tourism partners are honored to support this remarkable event.”

Along with Santa Clarita, Host Towns for the 2015 World Summer Games include Long Beach, Thousand Oaks, Calabasas, Studio City, West Covina, Arcadia, Burbank, Palmdale and La Mirada. More Host Town selections will be announced in the coming weeks.

Special Olympics gymnasts celebrate on the medal stand. PHOTO BY CORY HANSEN

Special Olympics gymnasts celebrate on the medal stand. PHOTO BY CORY HANSEN

Host Town communities are selected based on the availability of lodging accommodations, sports practice facilities and recreation and entertainment offerings for the athletes, among other criteria. Host Towns are also responsible for planning activities for the athletes to introduce them to the community and help spread the word about the Games.

The 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games, being staged in Los Angeles July 25-Aug. 2, 2015, will be the largest sports-and-humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games. The games will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the Los Angeles region.

The Opening Ceremony, to be held July 25, 2015 in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, is expected to attract 80,000 spectators.

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