This weekend at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum ‘The Special Olympics World Games’ kicked off and First Lady Michelle Obama was on hand to welcome the 6500-plus athletes with intellectual disabilities from 165 countries who gathered for the opening ceremony.
“To all of our athletes, I just want you to know that all those people won’t just be cheering for you, they’re going to be learning from you. “You’re filling us with so much hope. And you’re uniting us in a way that nothing else can.”
President Obama, who is currently traveling in Africa, greeted the athletes in a pre-taped video. “Where some see limitation, you see opportunity. You represent the very best of the hunman spirit,” he said.
About 30,000 volunteers are expected to lend their services during the games, which will be attended by an estimated 500,000 people. Saturday’s opening ceremony will featured first lady Michelle Obama, along with performances by Stevie Wonder, Avril Lavigne, Nicole Scherzinger, O.A.R., Cody Simpson (featuring Special Olympics athlete Breanna Bogucki and YouTube sensation Madison Tevlin), J Balvin & Becky G, and Reach Up LA theme song creator Siedah Garrett.
Other who too part in the opening festivities were Jimmy Kimmel, Eva Longoria, Michael Phelps, Yao Ming, Greg Louganis, Stephanie McMahon and Lauren Potter, among others.
The athletes will participate in 25 sports during the nine-day competition. A flaming torch carried from Greece was used to light the Coliseum’s Olympic beacon. The games will continue through August. 2nd.