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Lakewood Mayor Co-Chairs Host Town Celebration for Special Olympic Athletes

Jeff Wood

Jeff Wood

By Rico Dizon

Mayor Jeff Wood has recently accepted to serve as Co-Chair on the Lakewood Host Town Committee for the athletes participating in the Los Angeles Special Olympic World Games 2015 that will take place from July to August this year.

The Mayor proudly announced after accepting his new responsibility, “on behalf of the Lakewood City Council and the entire Los Angeles County, I do hereby welcome the athletes, coaches, staff, volunteers, families and spectators of the Special Olympic World Games to our city and hereby proclaim July 21-24, 2015 as ‘Lakewood Host Town Days’ in the city of Lakewood, CA,” Wood added,  “Lakewood is proud to be a ‘Host Town’ in partnership with the city of Cerritos and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints which has graciously volunteered to create a local organizing committee to make this possible.”

As a host town, Lakewood will host athletes from the countries of Turkey and Slovenia in pre-game celebration that will include opportunities for recreation, entertainment and cultural exchanges.

The city joins as many as 100 communities across Southern California in welcoming delegations of over 7,000 Special Olympic athletes from 177 countries around the world.

David Montgomery from the organizing committee said that about 120 athletes from Uruguay are coming to Cerritos. He also said that some 200 athletes from Cerritos and Lakewood would be housed in Cal State Long Beach dormitories during the four days in summer.

For the athletes’ transportation needs, Montgomery said some ABCUSD bus lines would be mobilized temporarily for the event. During the pre-game celebration, the visitors will be taken to a number of historical, cultural and entertainment venues in various cities including the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa where a total of 1,500 athletes from several LA and OC host cities will converge.

“We are raising about $15,000 in Cerritos to cover certain expenses including meals for the visitors which includes valuable help from LA County Supervisor Don Knabe,” Montgomery said. “Those who wish to donate can go online for Special Olympic World Games website with link to Cerritos.

The Special Olympics World Games is the world’s largest sports and humanitarian event for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. It was founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

The Special Olympics is held every four years with the previous event held in Athens, Greece. For this year’s event in Los Angeles, athletes will compete in the large stadiums of UCLA and USC. The games can be seen live in their entirety on ESPN according to the head of Cerritos-Lakewood organizing committee.