Matadors Send Off 500 Special Olympic Athletes to the 2015 World Games
On July 24, the California State University, Northridge family, including CSUN student-athletes, Olympians and university mascot Matty the Matador, sent off nearly 500 athletes from around the world to compete in the 2015 Special Olympic World Games. Of the various Southern California locales kicking off the event, CSUN hosted the largest contingent of 2015 Special Olympics World Games competitors, a group which included athletes from Azerbaijan, Hellas (Greece), Malta, Serbia, Venezuela and Vietnam, as they trained and prepared for the games being held in Los Angeles from July 25 through Aug. 2.
“CSUN is proud to support and serve as a host town for the Special Olympics,” said CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison. “Hosting those of you who will be competing in the Special Olympics is really a privilege for us.”
On this sunny California morning, Special Olympics athletes were cheered on by more than 50 student-athletes, the CSUN band, dance team and athletics community as they enjoyed breakfast on campus, gathered their gear and climbed on the buses to head to the competition.
“Our CSUN Athletics family wants to send you off to the world games energized and ready to compete,” said CSUN Director of Intercollegiate Athletes Brandon Martin. “I hope you have enjoyed your stay here on campus and that you have enjoyed training in our outstanding athletic venues.”
As a collaborative San Fernando Valley unit, CSUN partnered with multiple communities throughout the area, including Chatsworth, Northridge, Reseda, Tarzana, Winnetka and Woodland Hills.
“There are 7 billion people in the world, and 6,500 Special Olympic athletes,” said 2000 Olympian and CSUN Associate Athletics Director for Marketing, Branding and Fan Development Dawn Crawford. “If you lined up 11,000 people around this track, there would be one of you for every 11,000 people.”
During their time here, Special Olympics athletes shopped at the Westfield Topanga mall, danced the night away at The Odyssey Restaurant in Granada Hills and had a barbecue at an area park.
“The last couple of days have given you the opportunities not only to explore, and to spend time on our campus, but to enjoy much of what makes Northridge and the San Fernando Valley so special,” Harrison said. “On behalf of the CSUN family, I want to wish you the best of luck as you go on to your competition. We are all very proud of you. I hope that you have fun; I hope that you go home with medals; and I hope that you know that all of us here at California State University, Northridge will be cheering for you and wishing you the best.”