More than sixty thousand fans packed into Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Saturday night to celebrate the 6,500 athletes who have arrived to share with the world their ability, bravery, and joy. Here, we recap a few highlights from the evening.
Athletes from 165 countries are competing in the World Games and represent all corners of the globe. Leading the parade was Special Olympics Hellas (Greece), host of the 2011 Special Olympics World Games.
The delegation from Korea entered the stadium, with 133 members. Korea hosted the most recent 2013 Special Olympics World Games held in PyeongChang.
The sixteen-member delegation from Senegal entered the Coliseum, joined by Special Olympics International Board Member Maria Shriver.
The Special Olympics Flag was carried into the Coliseum by Special Olympics Athletes Nikia Davenport, Oliver Doherty, Xing Le and Flora Vermisoglu along with Olympic Athletes Nadia Comaneci, Michelle Kwan, Greg Louganis and Michael Phelps.
Grammy-award winning musician Stevie Wonder performed his song “Fear Can’t Put My Dreams to Sleep” for the athletes.
The Special Olympics Torch enters the Coliseum, led by Special Olympics Athletes Solomon Jegede, Pradip Adhikari, Davaa Magvansuren, Horeih Golchin, Eliyahu Somer, Darianny Urtado and Destiny Sanchez. Destiny was assisted in lighting the torch by Olympic Gold Medalist Rafer Johnson.
The Special Olympics Torch lights up the Coliseum.