x

Politics

LA Greeks Welcome Special Olympics Flame of Hope in LA July 25

 

By Vasilis Papoutsis

LOS ANGELES, CA – The World Summer Games, the flagship event for the Special Olympic movement, will take place in Los Angeles July 25-August 2. It will be the largest sporting and humanitarian event in the world in 2015, with 6,500 athletes from 165 countries and more than 2,000 coaches who have been preparing these athletes for 32 Olympic-type events. The World Games take place every two years and alternate between Summer and Winter Olympic Games, and they are back in Los Angeles for the first time since 1972.

The Opening Ceremony on July 25 will take place at the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which also hosted the 1984 Olympic Games, and will be attended by First Lady Michelle Obama. Other celebrities attending will be Eva Longoria, Jimmy Kimmel, Stevie Wonder, and Olympic champion Michael Phelps.

The Special Olympic movement was founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver with the intent to become the global leader for people with intellectual disabilities. A movement that provides year-round training for athletes who can be transformed through the power of sports. The emphasis is to develop their physical fitness but most importantly to help them become more productive citizens by building their self-esteem, confidence, and courage. As valued members of their communities, these athletes can achieve their acceptance and inclusion.

In her opening remarks during the formal torch lighting ceremony on the Sacred Site of Pnyx, opposite the Acropolis in Athens, Olympic Hellas President Joanna Despotopoulou told the athletes that ”Hope is stronger than despair.” While she wished them best success at the games, she said ”we are confident you will make us proud and you will inspire us to hope again.”

Prior to their participation in the Games, our delegation will have the privilege of being the guests of the Woodland Hills/Reseda/Tarzana Host Town. It is one of the more than 100 communities across Southern California that will be hosting Olympic athletes. Diana Williams, CEO of the West Valley- Warner Center Chamber of Commerce, which organizes this effort, said that they have been working on this project enthusiastically since July 2014. She said that partnerships and sponsorships with chamber business members have made this opportunity possible. CSU Northridge, my alma mater, will provide housing accommodations to the athletes and Kaiser Permanente is sponsoring a concert, among others. While visiting the Hellenic delegation will participate in a Torch Run, have dinner with Olympic legend Rafer Johnson and attend a hip hop concert at Warner Park.

The Hellenic delegation is coming here while Greece is in the middle of an unprecedented financial crisis. In my conversation with Consul General of Greece Gregory Karahalios, he emphasized that in these hard times “we have to seek inside our glorious history and inside ourselves and find again the inspiration, the will and the force to rise and to show to the world why Greece is not just another problematic country, but it still maintains all those characteristics that made it capable to become for centuries a beacon of art, culture and civilization for the whole world.” Of course, one of our proudest achievements was hosting the 2004 Athens Olympics, and even though it feels like a distant memory now, it was a demonstration of our Hellenic spirit and resolve. After all, ”the Olympic Ideals represent one of our most important legacies Greece has left to the world and our athletes are here to remind us that we should never give up,” as our Consul General reminds us.

I am confident that that the Greek-American community in Los Angeles will do whatever is possible to make the Greek delegation feel at home, and support them passionately on their competitions.

 

 

 

 

RELATED

ATHENS - A regulation in an omnibus bill will allow repatriated Greeks from Albania and the former Soviet Union to receive full national pensions, Labor and Social Protection Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said during a discussion in Greek Parliament on Tuesday.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

NYPD Οfficers, Βystander Save Man who Fell on Subway Tracks (Video)

NEW YORK — Two New York City police officers and a bystander raced to save a man who fell on the tracks at a Manhattan subway station, plucking him out of the way of an oncoming train in a daring rescue captured by an officer's body camera.

ATHENS – While the New Democracy government said national security requires phone bugging – but denied using Predator spyware – some Greek journalists said they believe they're being tracked, and especially anxious in the wake of the unsolved murder of investigative reporter Giorgos Karaivaz.

MONTREAL — Pedro Meraz says living in Colima, Mexico, was like living in a war zone, with shootings, burning cars and dismembered bodies being left outside of schools.

HONOLULU — As Hawaii's governor, David Ige faced a volcanic eruption that destroyed 700 homes, protests blocking construction of a cutting-edge multibillion-dollar telescope and a false alert about an incoming ballistic missile.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA's Orion capsule entered an orbit stretching tens of thousands of miles around the moon Friday, as it neared the halfway mark of its test flight.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.