California State University, Northridge in partnership with the communities of Chatsworth, Northridge, Reseda, Tarzana, Winnetka and Woodland Hills have been selected as Host Towns for five delegations of athletes and coaches from around the globe taking part in the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, officials for the university and the Special Olympics World Games announced today.
CSUN will be home for nearly 500 athletes from Azerbaijan, Hellas (Greece), Malta, Serbia, Venezuela and Vietnam from July 21-24 as they train and prepare for the World Games, which kick off in Los Angeles on July 25 and run through August 2.
1960 Olympic Gold Medalist and Special Olympics Southern California Founder, Rafer Johnson joined representatives from the communities of Chatsworth, Northridge, Woodland Hills, Reseda, Tarzana and Winnetka at today’s announcement. These communities will be serving as Host Towns, providing food, transportation and special events for the athletes and coaches during their stay at CSUN. The World Games are expected to draw 7,000 athletes from 177 countries.
“Given CSUN’s longstanding commitment to providing inclusive opportunities for our community, we are excited to host these exceptional athletes and participate in the 2015 Special Olympics World Games,” CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison said. “It is particularly appropriate that we will host athletes from six countries, as CSUN is one of the most diverse and international campuses in the country.”
With 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015 World Games will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world this year, and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games. The Games will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the Los Angeles region.
“The Host Town program gives each community an opportunity to showcase to the world what makes them special, but more importantly to provide citizens with a better understanding of intellectual disabilities that will lead to acceptance and inclusion for all,” said Patrick McClenahan, President and CEO of LA2015. “Long after the World Games are over, the memories of those three days spent in the Host Towns will leave a lasting legacy for Special Olympics Southern California and everyone who was touched by our athletes. We are thankful to all participating Host Towns and their tireless volunteers for opening their doors – and their hearts – to our athletes and coaches.”
Los Angeles Councilmember Mitchell Englander said Los Angeles shares the mission of Special Olympics, “one of inclusion and diversity.”
“This is an exciting time for the City of Los Angeles and for the San Fernando Valley,” he said. “We are ready to welcome these athletes from around the world who inspire us to achieve greatness through hard work and dedication.”
CSUN is considered one of the most inclusive institutions in higher education in the country. CSUN’s Disability Resources and Educational Services assists students in realizing their academic and career goals. CSUN’s Center on Disabilities has gained international recognition for organizing one of the world’s largest events of its kind, the acclaimed International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference. Participants travel from all 50 states, numerous territories and more than 35 countries to share information, explore new technologies and expand the knowledge base of professionals and introducing newcomers to the field. CSUN’s National Center on Deafness is one of the largest of its kind in the western United States and a model program of excellence regionally, nationally and internationally.
These efforts have earned the university a reputation for being one of the most inclusive institutions of higher education in the country.
California State University, Northridge has more than 40,000 full- and part-time students and offers 63 bachelor’s and 53 master’s degrees, as well as 28 teaching credential programs. Founded in 1958, CSUN is among the largest single-campus universities in the nation and the only four-year public university in the San Fernando Valley. The university is home to dozens of nationally recognized programs where students gain valuable hands-on experience working alongside faculty and industry professionals, whether in the sciences, health care and engineering or education, political science, the arts and the social sciences. While regionally focused, the university’s faculty and administrators recognize the important role its students and alumni play in shaping the future of California and the world.
About Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015)
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. 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.