For the first time in six years, the Special Olympics World Games will return to the United States in 2015, the organization said Wednesday.
After a competitive bid process that lasted nearly a year, Los Angeles beat out fellow-finalist South Africa to host the summer games, which are expected to draw over 7,000 athletes and more than half a million visitors.
“In a city full of movie stars and all-stars, our Special Olympics athletes will be the stars of this show as they demonstrate their skills, courage and joy,” said Patrick McClenahan, chair of the Los Angeles bid committee. “Los Angeles will provide the world stage necessary to create the awareness that leads to increased acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities throughout southern California, the nation and the world.”
Special Olympics officials previously cited strong community support and ties to leaders in the sports world as factors supporting the Los Angeles bid.
Alternating winter and summer games are held every two years in locations around the globe. This past summer athletes competed in Athens, Greece and in 2013 South Korea will host winter games.
The world games were last in the United States in 2009 when winter games were held in Boise, Idaho.
Los Angeles hosted the summer games once before in 1972.