Inside the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games
Start writing a post

Inside the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games

Unity and determination that inspires.

Inside the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games

I recently had the privilege of attending the Special Olympics World Games opening ceremony at the Coliseum in Los Angeles. This was truly the experience of a lifetime as it demonstrated, so beautifully, the way that nations have the ability to come together to promote a common cause. There were 165 countries present at the ceremony and thousands of athletes. There were special guests; some of which include late-night television host Jimmy Kimmel, musical legend Stevie Wonder, Olympian Michael Phelps, and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Never before have I seen such joy and sportsmanship than I did in these athletes. The participants in the Special Olympic games range in age from 9 to 77 years old, and each athlete suffers from a mental disability. The theme for this year’s Special Olympics is “Reach Out," which is quite appropriate for the games. Each and every one of the athletes is “reaching out” – out of their comfort zones, out for the stars. These athletes demonstrate the reality that with a little hard work and determination, dreams do come true. Nothing is impossible or unattainable if you truly want to make it happen.

Later in the evening, Michelle Obama made a statement in her speech that captured perfectly the attitude each one of us should have toward the athletes competing in the Special Olympics. She said to the participants, “All those people [the fans] won’t just be cheering for you, they’ll be learning from you, they will be inspired by you." Those competing are demonstrating athletic skill while simultaneously overcoming restrictive disabilities. It is incredible what these people can do, and we should be inspired by their passion, their determination, and their joy. In the midst of their hardship, they have been able to portray proper athleticism: a mixture of athletic skill and good sportsmanship, even if you don’t win the gold medal. This is seen also in the motto and pledge of the Special Olympics, which was recited in unison at the ceremony: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." We ought to look to them as an example of grace and sportsmanship, and model our own athleticism after them.

The games also demonstrated the theme of unity. Our First Lady spoke of these games as an example of the way that our world has the ability to be unified. There are few things that demonstrate unity better than 165 nations coming together to achieve a common goal. Never have I seen such remarkable sportsmanship among people, or such joy and equality. No matter what nation the athletes were from, they all hugged and high-fived each other. It was truly beautiful. I was able to participate in the demonstration of unity among the nations. When the event was over, I made my way to the exit where the athletes were leaving. As athletes from different nations came by, I had the privilege of high-fiving them and wishing them luck in their future endeavors. The experience was more than rewarding; it was humbling.

If you’d like to attend any of the Special Olympic events, they are free to the public and are at several different venues across Southern California. Just click on this link to find a venue near you. If you’d like to learn more about the Special Olympics, including its special programs and volunteer opportunities, go to

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments