Michelle Obama to declare Special Olympics open

Los Angeles, July 25 (IANS) Honorary co-chair of Special Olympics World Games (SOWG) and US First Lady Michelle Obama has confirmed her attendance at Saturday’s opening ceremony.

“She is declaring the Games open tomorrow night,” Xinhua quoted LA 2015 president and chief executive Patrick McClenahan as saying on Friday.

“It’s the largest event Los Angeles has hosted since the 1984 Olympics. (Hosting the event) is just a remarkable opportunity for us,” McClenahan said.

There will be 290 events — 267 for Special Olympics athletes and 23 Unified Sports competitions pairing athletes with and without intellectual disabilities.

“Reach Up LA” is the theme song of LA 2015 Special Olympics. The creator of the song, Siedah Garrett, said during the conference that “I would love it if people feel the energy and emotion that went into performing and creating the song.”

The opening ceremony will take place on Saturday to honour over 6,500 athletes from 165 countries and regions in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the only venue in the world to host two Olympiads (1932 and 1984). The ceremony will also witness the Parade of Athletes and the culmination of the Final Leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run and lighting of the Special Olympics cauldron.

The show will be directed by Emmy Award winner Debbie Allen and produced by Five Currents, which produced the opening ceremony for the 2014 Sochi Games. Notable guests include Michelle Obama, Stevie Wonder, Michael Phelps, Jimmy Kimmel and Yao Ming. The organisers are expecting about 62,000 people at the stadium.

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