The Special Olympics World Summer Games will return to the United State after 16 years, having last been held in the United States in 1999 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The most recent World Summer Games were in Athens, Greece in 201I.The 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games are expected to bring more than a half -million people to the greater Los Angeles area and will be held July 25 to August 2, 2015.
Special Olympics World Games bring public attention to the talents and capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities, helping to change attitudes and break down barriers that excluded them from the mainstream of the community.
This is good news for a local athlete and coach. Recently Anthony Cahoon from Marissa went through the selection process and was selected to attend the World Games 2015 as part of the Illinois delegation in soccer. Anthony was selected one of 11 soccer players from Illinois to be part of the seven versus seven soccer that will be held at Sepulveda Sports Complex (Encino). Illinois will send I4 athletes to the World Games.
Anthony's local coach also will get to see him play at the World Games 2015. His coach, Rich Crothers of Mascoutah was recently appointed to be part of the staff as an Assistant Coach for soccer. This is his third time (1999, 2006, 2015) being selected as a coach for a National or World Games. In 1999 he was an assistant coach and accompanied local player Jodee Reed to North Carolina. Jodee came home with a gold medal. Anthony is hoping for the same.
Rich Larkin a Special Olympics coach out of Jacksonville had this to say of Anthony after his selection, "Anthony rocks. It is rare that you see such spirit and sportsmanship in your opponents, but I have always seen that in Anthony. It's a pleasure to coach against him cause he always gives 100%+ which then makes my players work that much harder. He is a great athlete (and he has a great coach too)."
The two of them will attend training at the National Training Center in Indianapolis, Indiana from 2-7 October. There they will meet the other members of the delegation from the United States. They will have a mini camp and be fitted with their uniforms.
The Los Angeles Games will also provide a venue for global discussions and action on the impact Special Olympics can have on the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. More 200 million people worldwide have an intellectual disability, making it the largest disability group worldwide. Intellectual disability crosses racial, ethnic, educational, social and economic lines, and can occur in any family. Crothers is also hoping to present his PhD dissertation at one of the events. It is called “Lived Experiences of Youth with Cognitive Disabilities Participating in Special Olympics.”
· The 2015 Games will be the 14th Special Olympics World Summer Games
· The Games are scheduled for July 25 to August 2 2015
· 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from 177 nations
· 30,000 Volunteers
· 3,000 Coaches
· 500,000 Spectators
· Football (7/Side) - Sepulveda Sports Complex (Encino)