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USC and Los Angeles to host the Special Olympics

first_imgUSC will play host to both athletes and events of the Special Olympics Summer Games coming to Los Angeles at the end of July.The Games will be held from July 25 to Aug. 2 and will kick off with a grand opening ceremony on the evening of July 25 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which is incidentally the only venue in the world to have hosted two Summer Olympics, in 1932 and 1984. It has also played host to two Super Bowls, I and VII, and one World Series, in 1959. This is Los Angeles’s second Special Olympics, the previous one being held in 1999.Nearly 7,000 athletes will compete for glory in these games across 25 sporting disciplines spread across 27 venues. Aquatics, basketball and track and field will be held at USC at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center, Galen Center and Cromwell Field, respectively.The Special Olympics began as an initiative of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of former President John. F. Kennedy, who started the Special Olympics as a way of breaking barriers for individuals with intellectual disabilities. What began in Chicago in 1968 is now a movement that encompasses more than 170 countries around the world and touches millions of lives.The last Summer Games were held in Athens in 2011.  The next Special Olympics World Games event will be the Winter Games, to be held in Graz and Schladming in Austria in 2017.Though no formal announcements have been made about the opening ceremony, Steven Vanderpool, senior vice president of communications and media operations for the Los Angeles Special Olympics 2015, said that it’s being handled like similarly large-scale events.“We’ve roped in Five Currents, a production firm based in Redondo Beach, for the ceremonies. They have extensive expertise in handling events of such scale, and they’ve handled ceremonies for World Cups and even the London Summer Olympics among others,” Vanderpool said. “But the marquee event of that evening will be the march of the 7,000 athletes who are going to be participating in these games.”Vanderpool confirmed that the ceremony would be a three-hour event that will be broadcast worldwide on the ESPN network.Vanderpool said that upon the athletes’ arrival, they will be integrated into the local communities as part of the “Host Town” program of the games.“We’ve been running this program since 1995 and as part of this initiative, more than 100 communities across Southern California stretching all the way to San Luis Obispo have been engaged to help athletes feel comfortable and experience local cultures and hospitality,” Vanderpool said.Paige Peplow, a recent USC graduate, will be taking part in one of these Host Town programs in San Pedro. Peplow has been teaching dance classes to children with Down syndrome for the past eight years and has been asked to choreograph a dance for her students to perform at a dinner for athletes in San Pedro.“I’m so honored to be a part of the Special Olympics organization because it’s an organization that is close to my heart,” Peplow said. “It’s especially great because I’ve been able to experience two of my worlds colliding with USC hosting the games.”Peplow became involved in the Special Olympics through a contact she had met through the Marshall School of Business.“It really happened completely by accident. I was put in touch with a Marshall alumna and had told her about my experience teaching dance to kids with Down syndrome, and the next thing I knew, one of the Host Town programs was asking me to help with the proceedings,” Peplow said. “I’m so grateful for this whole experience, and it has just been another example of the strength of the Trojan family.”Transportation arrangements for athletes have been paramount to organizers, given the scale of events and the fact that the venues are spread across L.A.“Keeping the travel to a bare minimum for the athletes is vital, and USC and UCLA will be our athletes’ villages for the games,” Vanderpool said. “During the games, two thirds of the delegates, totaling nearly 6,500 in number, [will] be staying at USC and the rest [will] be camped at UCLA.”The organizers also realize the importance of having enthusiastic supporters in the stands, and the Fans In The Stands initiative aims to ensure just that. These Special Olympics will see volunteers captaining teams of spectators in the stands and doing their part to create an environment that will help athletes excel.Tickets for the Opening Ceremony went on sale on June 2. Vanderpool said he is extremely pleased with the response thus far and is confident that Los Angeles will be able to deliver a successful and memorable games.last_img read more

Griezmann gives Atletico power of positive thinking

first_imgIn a story of their season, Los Rojiblancos had lacked inspiration in the final third before Griezmann ended his eight-game goal drought in spectacular fashion by acrobatically thrashing home Angel Correa’s cross 21 minutes from time.Griezmann had been jeered by some Atletico supporters when he was substituted in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at home to Real Madrid.However, he was backed throughout as his name was chanted before kick-off.“I think the night started well with the support from the fans,” added Simeone.“We fed off that positive energy, we found ourselves again and we found an Antoine who is a special player, and got back to playing a great match.”Griezmann then turned provider with a fine through ball for Gameiro to round Alisson in the Roma goal and slot into an empty net five minutes from time.“We are all behind him because scoring goals like that, he makes us win games,” said Gameiro.“I think he is a little relieved, like everyone else.”Roma boss Eusebio Di Francesco admitted Atletico were deserving winners on the night, but insisted he would have been delighted with having Roma’s fate in their own hands going into the final game when they were handed a tough draw back in August.“We would all have signed up for having to win our last game at home to Qarabag to go through,” said Di Francesco.“We have to assume that responsibility. Atletico’s hopes are less than ours because they don’t depend just on themselves.”Share on: WhatsApp “There is still one game to go and, until the 90 minutes are over, we can’t think negatively,” said Simeone.“I always have confidence because I know my players and they will give their maximum until the situation leaves us with no chance.”Chelsea swept aside 10-man Qarabag 4-0 in Baku on Wednesday to secure their place in the knockout phase and move ahead of Roma into pole position to win the group.However, having been held twice by the Azerbaijani champions, Simeone believes they can cause an upset in the Italian capital.“You can’t underestimate anyone,” added Simeone.“Football is marvellous. Sometimes the ball wants to go in and sometimes not.“Today Chelsea attacked once in the first half and it was a penalty and a sending-off.”Yet, even if progress to the last 16 for a fifth consecutive season is beyond them, Atletico did end a five-match winless streak at their new Wanda Metropolitano stadium and guarantee at least a place in the Europa League with a well-deserved victory over the Italians. Atletico Madrid players celebrate, they beat Roma 2-0 on WednesdayMadrid, Spain | AFP | Diego Simeone refused to be downhearted by Atletico Madrid’s slim chances of making the Champions League last 16 after Antoine Griezmann returned to form with a stunning overhead kick and assist for Kevin Gameiro to beat Roma 2-0 on Wednesday.Twice finalists in the past four seasons, Simeone’s men still need a minor miracle in the final two games in Group C on December 5 to progress as Atletico need to win away to Chelsea and hope Roma drop points at home to Qarabag.last_img read more

Talented quartet target European Young Masters

first_img15 Jul 2015 Talented quartet target European Young Masters Four talented players will head to Switzerland later this month to represent England in the European Young Masters. Sammy Fuller of Surrey (Image © Leaderboard Photography), Hollie Muse of Lancashire, Toby Briggs of Norfolk and Charlie Strickland of Sussex will tee up in the 54-hole event at Golf Club Domaine Imperial from July 23-25. England’s most successful year was in 2013, when Bradley Moore (Kedleston Park) won the boys’ title and also led the mixed team to victory. This will be the second time both Fuller and Muse have played in the championship and they will seek England’s first win in the girls’ event. Both players have just represented England in the European girls’ team championship. The players Sammy Fuller, 16, (Roehampton) returned from injury this season to tie for the Irish U18 stroke play, but lost a title play-off. She has represented England in the girls’ Home Internationals and GB&I in the junior Vagliano. Hollie Muse, 15, (West Lancashire) helped England beat Spain in the 2015 mixed international and this season has won the Scottish U16 championship and The Leveret and was third in the St Rule Trophy. She was in the winning teams at last year’s girls’ and women’s Home Internationals. Toby Briggs, 15, (Dunston Hall) was runner-up at the Fairhaven Trophies and helped England to win the Nations Cup. He was also in the teams which came second at the German boys’ open and third at the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters. He was unbeaten in the recent U16 international against Spain. Charlie Strickland, 16, (Ham Manor) was third in the South Eastern junior championship, fifth in the Peter McEvoy Trophy and sixth in the 2014 Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters. He also played in this year’s U16 international against Spain, winning both his matches on the second day.last_img read more