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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.

Special Olympics Hellas

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.

Special Olympics Korea delegation

The delegation from Korea entered the stadium, with 133 members.  Korea hosted the most recent 2013 Special Olympics World Games held in PyeongChang.

senegal delegation with maria shriver

The sixteen-member delegation from Senegal entered the Coliseum, joined by Special Olympics International Board Member Maria Shriver.

dikembe and DRC parade of athletes
Athletes from the Democratic Republic of Congo entered the Coliseum with former Professional Basketball Player and Special Olympics International Board Member Dikembe Mutombo

tim shriver and global messengers
Timothy Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics International, and twelve International Global Messengers welcomed the athletes to the Special Olympics World Games 2015 Los Angeles.

damian lillard and lauren potter
NBA basketball player Damian Lillard and Special Olympics World Games Ambassador Lauren Potter greeted the crowd.

special olympics flag

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.

Jamaal Charles, Professional Football Player, talks to the Special Olympics Athletes about courage.
Professional Football Player Jamaal Charles spoke to the Special Olympics Athletes about courage and leads the Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Oscar De La Hoya and Special Olympics Global Messenger Yoona Kim
Boxer Oscar De La Hoya and Special Olympics Global Messenger Yoona Kim introduced musician Stevie Wonder.

stevie wonder on piano

Grammy-award winning musician Stevie Wonder performed his song “Fear Can’t Put My Dreams to Sleep” for the athletes.

michelle obama
Special Olympics Global Messenger and restaurant owner Tim Harris introduced First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, who declared, “Let the Games begin!”

The torch enters the coliseum
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 torch is lit

The Special Olympics Torch lights up the Coliseum.

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