Everyone pays close attention to the Olympics, but not so much to the Special Olympics. It's not in the mainstream as much. But it should be.
For two weeks in August the USC Campus was host to several events for the 2015 "World Games". I didn't mind that the normally empty summer campus was jammed full. An Olympic Village was erected that was eventually full of athletes, coaches, visitors, family members, police, military, vendors, sponsors and lots of music & food. Getting through it all on my way to lunch or a meeting was certainly interesting to say the least.
The Galen Center was host to Basketball & Volleyball. The Aquatics Center was host to all diving, water polo and swim events. Athletic fields through out campus were host to all typical Track & Field events. And just next door at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the opening ceremonies were hosted by Michelle Obama and Stevie Wonder.
I must say, the spirit of these young adults was powerful and beautiful. A refreshing attitude after such Olympic embarrassments as the Tanya Harding / Nancy Kerrigan drama from the those 'other' Olympics.
Walking through the crowd I overheard teams from all over the world excited to be in Los Angles, and excited to meet the other athletes. Their smiles and optimism is quite infectious. More happy faces than when the campus is full of students. I saw many athletes hanging out with members of other teams just sharing stories and having fun.
Unfortunately I don't have very good photo's to share, but here's what I have:
A 2015 sports car on display was signed by all the athletes.
I just barely caught the smile of an athlete from Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) South Africa. His friend said that he unable to hear or speak.
There was open seating at the track and field events. I would have stayed longer if it weren't for all the work to be done back at my office!
The shot-put area.
Some random faces of Olympic spirit: