Athletes supporting athletes — that’s how it works at California State University, Northridge. Matador student-athletes, who understand the rigor and devotion it takes to physically compete, cheered on the thousands of 2015 Special Olympics World Games participants at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion and intramural field on Aug. 1.
With 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers, the World Games — staged in Los Angeles from July 25–Aug. 2 — was the largest sports and humanitarian event in the world in 2015. It is also the largest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games.
Three native Southern Californians entering their first year of competition as CSUN student-athletes said they were thrilled to be a part of this historic Los Angeles event.
“When we were there, you could just see that [the athletes] loved to play,” said freshman softball shortstop Sabrina Garcia, of Oxnard. “You could see the passion they had, and that they loved what they were doing. They were playing hard, and there were some really good games.”
“It was an honor to be a part of the event,” said freshman baseball pitcher and first baseman Jayson Newman, of Studio City. “It was really awesome to see the diversity of the people competing.”
“I thought it was cool to see how many people were actually in the Special Olympics,” said freshman softball pitcher Taylor Troost, of San Bernardino. “I didn’t realize how many countries participated, so I thought it was great how they all came here to the United States.”