LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The success of the 1984 Olympic Games left behind a legacy for Southern California that has benefited more than three million children over the last 30 years. The LA84 Foundation, which was endowed with surplus funds from those Games and has distributed more than $220 million to youth sports programs, today announced a $250,000 grant for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games. LA84’s gift will help cover athlete and equipment expenses as well as venue costs for the largest sporting event in the city since those watershed Olympic Games of 1984.
At this morning’s announcement at the LA84 Foundation, attended by Rafer Johnson, who lit the caldron to open the 1984 Olympic Games and is the founder of Special Olympics Southern California, Southern California Olympians and Paralympians pledged their support for the 7,000 Special Olympics athletes who will compete in the World Games. This Sunday, World Games athletes will partner with local Olympians and Paralympians for a special Unified Relay at the ASICS LA Marathon. Each pair of runners will complete at least a 2-mile leg of the 26.2-mile course from Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica Pier.
“The LA84 Foundation is pleased to partner with Southern California Olympians and Paralympians in support of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games,” said Anita L. DeFrantz, President of the LA84 Foundation and Executive Board Member of the International Olympic Committee. “As the legacy of the 1984 Olympic Games, we recognize the tremendous impact that the Special Olympics World Games will have in bringing together the residents of Los Angeles to celebrate and applaud the efforts of the Special Olympics athletes. Olympians and Paralympians have reached the highest pinnacle in sports. They will be proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Special Olympics athletes who have demonstrated the same level of commitment to success in the field of play. We invite everyone to come out and join us in welcoming these athletes to Los Angeles and share in their joy as they give it their best.”
“The support of LA84 and local Olympians and Paralympians will go a long way to help make our event a success,” said Patrick McClenahan, President and CEO of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, who also sits on the Board of Directors of the LA84 Foundation. “Thanks to this grant, many of the world’s most inspirational competitors will carry forth the positive legacy of the 1984 Olympic Games and motivate a whole new generation with their courage, determination and joy.”
About the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015
With 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games - being staged in Los Angeles July 25 - August 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 2015 Special Olympics World Games, with the unparalleled spirit, enthusiasm, teamwork, joy and displays of courage and skill that are hallmarks of all Special Olympics events, 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. On April 30, 2014, LA2015 and ESPN announced a global programming deal that will see ESPN bring coverage of the World Games to millions of fans around the world. Honorary Chairs of the Games are President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Jerry Brown serving as Honorary Hosts. Current Founding Champions and sponsors include The Coca-Cola Company, Mattel, Deloitte, Toyota, Bank of America, Kaiser Permanente, OUE Skyspace Los Angeles, Davis Elen Advertising, Microsoft, Toys“R”Us, Google, UPS, AEG, David Geffen, Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg, The Walt Disney Company, Panda Express and Knights of Columbus. LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee, is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information on the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.LA2015.org and on social with #ReachUpLA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries. With the support of more than 1.3 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 81,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org. Engage with us on: Twitter @specialolympics, fb.com/specialolympics, youtube.com/specialolympicshq, instagram.com/specialolympics and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.
About the LA84 Foundation
The LA84 Foundation was established to manage Southern California’s share of the surplus from the successful 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. The Foundation received an endowment of $93 million. Since it began operations in 1985, it has invested more than $220 million back into the communities that supported the Games, supporting more than 3 million youth in the eight Southern California counties of Los Angeles, Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura. Its headquarters is the historic Britt House near downtown Los Angeles, where it houses the world’s premier sports library and meeting facilities. The Foundation provides grants to youth sports organizations; manages programs, including a coaching education program; and convenes numerous forums for the exploration of the most pressing issues in sport. For more information, please visit www.la84.org.