Los Angeles, California - Before the
Special Olympics World Games begin on July 25, 2015, 7,000 athletes
from 177 countries will be welcomed to Southern California with a
three-day "Host Town" program from July 21 - 24. The
Host Town program will welcome the athletes to Southern California
with three days of cultural events, sports training and relaxation.
One hundred communities from San Luis Obispo to San Diego will have
the honor of becoming official Host Towns, with Long Beach today,
being named the first official community selected to
"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 Games Organizing Committee. "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."
LA2015 is actively identifying potential Host Town candidates to
be considered for the program. Communities are evaluated on the
availability of lodging accommodations, sports practice facilities
and recreation/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. More Host Town selections
will be announced in the coming weeks.
As the first Host Town, Long Beach continues a longstanding
history of supporting Special Olympics. Long Beach has been the
headquarters for the Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC)
chapter since 2007 and has hosted the SOSC Summer Games for the
last 15 years at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).
In addition to serving as a Host Town, Long Beach will also be the
site for several 2015 World Games events: Alamitos Beach and
the Long Beach Marine Stadium will be home to cycling, the
half-marathon, triathlon, beach volleyball, open-water swimming and
"Long Beach has always been proud to support Special Olympics,
and now, with the World Games coming to Los Angeles, it felt
natural for us to open our doors to these amazing international
athletes," said Bob Foster, mayor of Long Beach. "It is a true
privilege for us to welcome them to our city and be a part of this
The Host Town program has been an important element of Special
Olympics World Games since 1995, and the experience has left a
lasting impression on the local communities in Ireland, Japan,
China, Greece, South Korea and the United States, all of which have
previously organized Host Town programs as part of the Special
Olympics World Games.
"It was definitely a highlight of the World Games for me," said
Kristin Knutson, who attended the 2011 Special Olympics World
Summer Games in Athens, where Knutson was hosted by the Island of
Rhodes. "Being welcomed by the locals was truly touching and
experiencing the beautiful scenery and culture firsthand was
something I will never forget."
Communities interested in serving as Host Towns can learn more
by visiting the World Games website at www.LA2015.org/host-town.