Hoover High School

Special Olympics will use Hoover facilities to train

There will be 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries participating in the 2015 Special Olympics being held in Los Angeles for the first time since 1972 from July 25-Aug. 2.

Glendale is one of the host towns, and will accommodate 100 athletes who will use Hoover’s and Glendale Community College’s facilities to practice.

Glendale will witness the passing of the torch to light the opening ceremony, which will be brought to the Americana, alongside the athletes visiting the notable shopping center. The athletes will participate in a scavenger hunt around the Americana and the Glendale Galleria.

“The athletes from around the globe would love to meet the fans at any of the events, especially the one at the Americana where they will participate in a scavenger hunt,” said Kimberly Villa, Director of Community Engagement for Special Olympics Los Angeles.

According to Villa, the Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives through the power of sport by empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide.

Villa recently met with the school’s associated student body to discuss the logistics of the event and to share some personal experience. Villa first began volunteering for the Special Olympics many years ago and then rose to a paid position. Her job is to get the 500,000 and more fans they need to fill the stands.

The Special Olympics is asking the Glendale community to get involved with either attending a game or to volunteer. To volunteer you must be 18 years or older, but they are giving the opportunity for anyone over the age of 14 to sign up as a fan captain to gather up 10 or more people who would like to attend the events.

ESPN has partnered with the Special Olympics to air all the events from the opening ceremony to the last game. The Opening Ceremony, to be held on July 25 in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, is expected to attract 80,000 spectators.

Read more here.