El Segundo High School

Michelle Obama, Avril Lavigne, Stevie Wonder among headliners for Special Olympics World Games opening ceremony

Mark the date for July 25, 6 p.m, for this is when the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015) will kick-off the Games with the Opening Ceremonies which can be seen worldwide on ESPN, or live (to buy tickets to attend live go to LA2015.org through Ticketmaster).

What can you expect?  A star-studded lineup, with performances by: Avril Lavigne, Stevie Wonder, Nicole Scherzinger, O.A.R., Cody Simpson (featuring Special Olympics athlete Breanna Bogucki and YouTube sensation Madison Tevlin), J Balvin, and Reach Up LA theme song creator Siedah Garrett. You can also look forward to appearances by Jimmy Kimmel, Eva Longoria, Michael Phelps, Yao Ming, Greg Louganis, Stephanie McMahon, and Lauren Potter (one of the most popular actresses with an intellectual disability), among others.  And, of course, the real stars of the show, the 7,000 world games athletes!

Not only will the entertainment be inspirational, but First Lady Michelle Obama will attend (in her role as an honorary co-chair of the World Games with President Barack Obama); in addition, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Gov. Jerry Brown serve as honorary hosts. “The Special Olympics movement is thrilled and honored to have First Lady Michelle Obama join us on the momentous occasion of our 2015 Special Olympics World Games,” shared Tim Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics. “Her vision of wellness, fitness and inclusion of all in sport is at the heart of Special Olympics and will be seen in the spirit of the athletes.  Her lessons conveying the critical importance of play and action are lessons that we hope all schools across the nation will embrace by welcoming Special Olympics Unified Sports programs to their gyms, to their playing fields, and to the hearts of all their students.”

The creative production team, FiveCurrents, who captured the world’s attention with the opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games and Sochi 2014 Olympic Games will executive produce the World Games opening ceremony. FiveCurrents will work with Emmy Award winner Debbie Allen, who is the Director for the opening ceremony.  They will produce this show for the nearly 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 170 countries attending the opening ceremony.  As well, more than 60,000 fans including royalty, heads of state and government, and other distinguished personalities will cheer on the athletes inside the Coliseum.

Avril Lavigne  shares her thoughts on the upcoming opening ceremony “As a long-time supporter of Special Olympics, I am honored and excited to perform live for the first time a song I have dedicated to Special Olympics and the Games, “Fly”, at the Opening Ceremony. It is always a true joy when I can help celebrate the abilities and determination of these amazing athletes.”

In addition, the legendary Stevie Wonder shares his thoughts “I am touched to be a part of this celebration of determination, courage, joy, and skill.  Throughout my own journey of overcoming the odds, it’s truly an inspiring moment to join these incredible athletes as they come to Los Angeles to compete and accomplish so many victories.”

Nicole Scherzinger, international recording artist and Special Olympics Global Ambassador, shares that “Special Olympics athletes are so inspiring to me. I’m looking forward to singing the National Anthem at the opening ceremony and cheering on the athletes as they show the world their outstanding athletic abilities.”

The opening ceremony kicks off nine days of the World Games, which run from July 25-August 2.  The Games will feature 25 Olympic-style sports: Aquatics, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Cycling, Equestrian, Football, Gymnastics, Golf, Half Marathon, Handball, Judo, Kayaking, Open Water Swimming, Powerlifting, Roller Skating, Sailing, Softball, Table Tennis, Tennis, Triathlon, Volleyball, and Beach Volleyball. Competitions will take place daily at 27 venues throughout Los Angeles and they are free and open to the public (you can find the competition schedule at LA2015.org/schedule and download the LA2015 app on iTunes Store or Google Play Store).

It is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to support the World Games LA2015, the largest humanitarian event in the work that will showcase the unlimited potential of people with intellectual disabilities.