Thousands Of Athletes Prepare For Special Olympics This Week

Posted at 2:51 PM, Jul 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-07 09:10:59-04

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The first Special Olympics World Games drew about a thousand U.S. and Canadian competitors to Chicago for an event designed to celebrate athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Nearly a half-century later, the games were set to bring some 6,500 athletes from 165 countries to Los Angeles this week to take part in 25 sports at venues across the city.

Athletes ages 8 to 71 were scheduled to compete in soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis, track, roller skating and other sports over nine days. About a half-million people have been expected to come watch, including Olympic gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps and diver Greg Louganis.

First lady Michelle Obama has planned to open the event Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics. 

(Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)