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Westmont to host Athletes for Special Olympics
updated: Jul 30, 2014, 8:20 PM

By Westmont College

Santa Barbara to Open Doors as "Host Town" for the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015)

Santa Barbara selected as an LA 2015 Host Town, providing culture, training and accommodations to international athletes in July 2015

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - July 30, 2014 - The City of Santa Barbara announced today that the community has been officially selected to participate in the Special Olympics World Games "Host Town" program from July 21 - 24, 2015. Before the Special Olympics World 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. One hundred communities from San Luis Obispo to San Diego will have the honor of being selected as an official Host Town.

"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."

As a Host Town, Santa Barbara will provide visiting Special Olympics athletes with the opportunity to learn about and experience American culture, as well as share their own culture with the community. Santa Barbara residents and businesses plan to roll out the red carpet for the visiting athletes, with diverse activities to showcase Santa Barbara as part of the unique culture of Southern California.

Westmont College, a nationally ranked liberal arts college in Santa Barbara, has generously agreed to provide housing and training facilities for the 100 visiting Special Olympics athletes. "We look forward to welcoming these guests to campus and to Santa Barbara," said Gayle D. Beebe, president of Westmont. "We're honored to host them, recognize their athletic and personal achievements, and support the outstanding work of Special Olympics."

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.

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.

Santa Barbara joins the growing list of officially proclaimed Host Towns, which includes Long Beach, Thousand Oaks, Calabasas, Studio City, West Covina, Arcadia, Burbank, Palmdale, Glendale and Santa Maria. More Host Town selections will be announced in the coming weeks.

Communities interested in serving as Host Towns can learn more by visiting the World Games website at www.LA2015.org/host-town.

To support Santa Barbara's Host Town Program, please send donations to the Special Olympics Santa Barbara office (423 W. Victoria St. Santa Barbara, CA 93101). Checks should be made out to LA2015 World Games, Attn: Joann Klonowski.

About the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games 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 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, Kaiser Permanente, Davis Elen Advertising, AEG, David Geffen, Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw, The Walt Disney Company, Knights of Columbus and Bank of America. 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.

About Special Olympics International 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 33 Olympic-type sports and more than 81,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including the Christmas Records Trust, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics®, The Coca-Cola Company, Lions Clubs International, Mattel, P&G, Bank of America, Essilor Vision Foundation, the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation, Finish Line, The Safeway Foundation, and Safilo Group. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org. Engage with us on: twitter@specialolympics, facebook.com/specialolympics, youtube.com/specialolympicshq, instagram.com/specialolympics and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com

 

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