My first experience with the Special Olympics was when I was 10 and the games were held near my hometown. I could remember watching all of these proud spectators cheering and clapping for the athletes. There were some that were shedding tears and others that were hugging one another. I didn’t understand the impact of the games until I saw the amazing athletes.
The athletes all had different sets of challenges and were still working their hardest to set those challenges aside and focus on their sport. It was incredible to see how happy they were for one another- it didn’t matter who won or lost, they showed TRUE sportsmanship and compassion.
As an adult and a person who has a nephew with special needs, I can understand more than ever those spectators I watched all those years ago and share in their joy and excitement. Every smile fills your heart and every milestone is a miracle. You see their ABILITIES and jump for joy when they pursue them! Unfortunately, living so far I’m not able to experience it often, but when I do, it is amazing! In the meantime, I see the pride and amazement from my sister and brother-in-law in all of my nephews accomplishments- big and small.
This year the 2015 Special Olympics Opening Ceremonies kick off on Saturday, July 25 in Los Angeles! The event will include 7,000 athletes from over 177 countries. In honor of this year’s Special Olympics World Games, a series of murals have been painted by artists as part of Toyota’s “Share the Journey” campaign. The murals feature Special Olympics athletes and celebrate their joy and courage. Here is some more info about these beautiful murals:
About the Murals
Building on LA’s storied history of outdoor art, Toyota partnered with the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles to produce three murals inspired by the spirit of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games. The murals have been completed in advance with the intent that they will remain in place as a cultural legacy commemorating the Games in the city of Los Angeles.
About “The Greatest” Mural
“The Greatest” features a large scale portrait of Muhammad Ali. Combining lettering and calligraphy from multiple cultural traditions, Cryptik showcases his signature style to create the mural background. At a distance, the calligraphy forms a glittering background to the overall image. Along the lower half of Muhammad Ali’s portrait, are a series of plaques featuring Special Olympics athletes. Each plaque includes an image as well as an inspirational quote from the athlete. Two additional plaques including inspirational quotes from Olympic gold medalist Apolo Ohno and former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Link to video – bit.ly/1HMp6YC
About “World Stage Legacy” Mural
The World Stage Legacy mural was created by artist David Flores as a celebration of the history of the Coliseum, the spirit of the Special Olympics, and the city & state of Los Angeles, California. The theme of inclusiveness embraces the idea of diversity, and thus the individuals depicted in the mural personify this theme and symbolize key aspects of the Coliseum’s history: Sport (the Olympic Games and football), politics, entertainment, technology, and social progress.
Link to video: bit.ly/1Dzr5M3
Tune in to ESPN coverage of the Special Olympics World Games from July 25 through August 2. You can also cheer on your hometown heros by clicking here and sharing on your social channels to support the Special Olympics World Games athletes.
What is your favorite sport to watch during the Special Olympic World Games?