Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015
Steven Vanderpool – Senior Vice President, Communications and Media Operations
LOS ANGELES (June 18, 2015) – The world’s largest sports and humanitarian event this year – the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015) – today announced its initial star-studded lineup for the event’s Opening Ceremony on Saturday, July 25, 2015. Performers include Stevie Wonder, Avril Lavigne, Nicole Scherzinger, O.A.R., Cody Simpson (featuring Special Olympics athlete Breanna Bogucki and YouTube sensation Madison Tevlin), J Balvin, and Reach Up LA theme song creator Siedah Garrett. Appearances by Jimmy Kimmel, Eva Longoria, Michael Phelps, Yao Ming, Greg Louganis, Stephanie McMahon, and Lauren Potter (one of the most popular actresses with an intellectual disability) among others, the show is set to be one of the most inspirational events Los Angeles has ever hosted.
Combined, these entertainers have sold more than 180 million albums and singles, and have been recognized for hundreds of accolades including the Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards, Emmy Awards, Billboard Music Awards and Billboard Latin Music Awards, World Music Awards, Golden Globe Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, MTV Europe Music Awards, Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, Radio Disney Music Awards and Young Hollywood Awards. Nearly 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 170 countries will be welcomed at the Opening Ceremony, held at the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the site of the Opening Ceremonies for both the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympic Games.
More than 60,000 fans including Royalty, Heads of State and Government, and other distinguished personalities will cheer on the athletes inside the Coliseum, while a global audience can watch coverage provided by ESPN, the official broadcast partner of the World Games. ESPN is distributing the Opening Ceremony around the world in multiple languages. Tickets to the Opening Ceremony and this once-in-a-lifetime experience are now available for purchase via LA2015.org through Ticketmaster.
“Taking place in the heart of Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world, we are delighted to welcome these entertainment legends for a night to celebrate acceptance and inclusion for all,” said Patrick McClenahan, President and Chief Executive Officer of LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee. “Everyone in the Coliseum, as well as the millions of viewers tuning in around the world, will have the chance to cheer on and celebrate the true stars of the Games, the Special Olympics athletes.”
The creative production team who captured the world’s imagination with the Opening Ceremonies for both the London 2012 Olympic Games and Sochi 2014 Olympic Games – FiveCurrents – will executive produce the World Games Opening Ceremony. The team is working with Emmy Award winner Debbie Allen, who is the Director for the Opening Ceremony. Specific details of the night’s event, which will include the Parade of Athletes and culmination of the Final Leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run® that will light the World Games cauldron, are being kept under tight security.
The headlining talent for the Opening Ceremony shared the following statements aligned to their upcoming participation in the LA2015 World Games Opening Ceremony:
“I am touched to be a part of this celebration of determination, courage, joy and skill,” said Stevie Wonder, musician. “Throughout my own journey of overcoming the odds, it’s truly an inspiring moment to join these incredible athletes as they come to Los Angeles to compete and accomplish so many victories.”
“As a long-time supporter of Special Olympics, I am honored and excited to perform live for the first time a song I have dedicated to Special Olympics and the Games, “Fly”, at the Opening Ceremony,” said Avril Lavigne, performer and singer. “It is always a true joy when I can help celebrate the abilities and determination of these amazing athletes.”
“We are honored to be a part of something as special and as important as the Special Olympics World Games,” said Marc Roberge, lead singer of O.A.R. “We can’t wait to share the stage with Cody, Madison and Bree to sing our newest song, ‘Reach Up’. ‘Reach Up’ is an anthem. We want people to hear it and feel like they can do anything.”
“Special Olympics athletes are so inspiring to me,” said Nicole Scherzinger, international recording artist and Special Olympics Global Ambassador.“I’m looking forward to singing the National Anthem at the opening ceremony and cheering on the athletes as they show the world their outstanding athletic abilities.”
“Having previously written and performed the theme songs for the 2007 Special Olympics and the 2010 World Expo in China, writing and performing this epic theme song ‘Reach Up LA’ for my hometown Los Angeles is one of the highlights of my career” said Siedah Garrett, singer-songwriter. “I am humbled and grateful to play a small part in this year’s celebration of these incredible Special Olympics athletes.”
“I truly understand that heart and perseverance can help overcome hurdles that stand between people and their dreams, so I feel greatly honored to join these inspiring athletes from many places and many cultures around the world that have worked so hard to get here,” said J Balvin, singer-songwriter.
The World Games will be hosted for nine days from July 25-August 2 and feature 25 Olympic-style sports: Aquatics, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Cycling, Equestrian, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Half Marathon, Handball, Judo, Kayaking, Open Water Swimming, Powerlifting, Roller Skating, Sailing, Softball, Table Tennis, Tennis, Triathlon, Volleyball, and Beach Volleyball. These Games will showcase the unlimited potential of people with intellectual disabilities – the largest disability population in the world. Competitions will take place daily at 27 venues throughout Los Angeles and they are free and open to the public. Plan your outing to support the athletes by checking out the competition schedule at LA2015.org/schedule and download the LA2015 app on iTunes Store or Google Play Store.
The Opening Ceremony will take place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, July 25, 2015 starting at 6 p.m. PT and will be brought to a worldwide audience by ESPN and local broadcast partners. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit LA2015.org. Stay tuned for more announcements soon of additional talent joining the Opening Ceremony and World Games.
About the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015)
With 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games – being staged in Los Angeles July 25 – August 2, 2015 – will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games. The 2015 Special Olympics World Games, with the unparalleled spirit, enthusiasm, teamwork, joy and displays of courage and skill that are hallmarks of all Special Olympics events, will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the Los Angeles region. The Opening Ceremony, to be held July 25, 2015 in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, is expected to attract 80,000 spectators. On April 30, 2014, LA2015 and ESPN announced a global programming deal that will see ESPN bring coverage of World Games to millions of fans around the world. Honorary Chairs of the Games are President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Jerry Brown serving as Honorary Hosts. Current Founding Champions and sponsors include The Coca-Cola Company, Mattel, Deloitte, Toyota, Bank of America, Kaiser Permanente, OUE Skyspace Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), Davis Elen Advertising, Microsoft, Toys“R”Us, The Walt Disney Company, Google, UPS, Herbalife Nutrition, Los Angeles Times, AMC Theaters, La Opinión, Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, WWE, AEG, Annenberg Foundation, David Geffen, Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg, Panda Express, and Knights of Columbus. LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee, is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information on the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.LA2015.org and on social media with #ReachUpLA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries. With the support of more than 1.3 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 81,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including the Christmas Records Trust, the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics, The Coca-Cola Company, The Walt Disney Company and ESPN, Microsoft, Lions Clubs International, Toys”R”Us, Mattel, P&G, Bank of America, Essilor Vision Foundation, the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation, Finish Line, The Safeway Foundation, and Safilo Group. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org. Engage with us on: Twitter @specialolympics, fb.com/specialolympics, youtube.com/specialolympicshq, instagram.com/specialolympics and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.
About Stevie Wonder
Legendary artist, musician and producer Stevie Wonder, was the youngest recording artist to achieve a #1 single with “Fingertips, Part 2” at age 13. He went on to amass 49 Top Forty singles, 32 #1 singles, and worldwide sales of over 100 million units. Among his many awards, acknowledgements and achievements, Stevie has received 25 Grammy Awards, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, an Academy Award and Golden Globe. One of the most influential musicians in the world, Stevie has also demonstrated extraordinary philanthropic leadership, and generosity of spirit. He is a committed advocate on behalf of the blind, is a United Nations Messenger of Peace with a special focus on persons with disabilities, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the White House in 2014.
About Avril Lavigne
Avril Lavigne has made an indelible mark on the music community, selling more than 35 million albums worldwide, more than 50 million singles, 8 Grammy nominations and the winner of 8 Canadian Juno Awards. She burst onto the music scene in 2002 with the critically acclaimed Let Go featuring the smash singles “Sk8r Boi” and “Complicated.” Her sophomore release, Under My Skin, debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts – as did The Best Damned Thing producing the irrepressible #1 single “Girlfriend” logging more than 202 million views on YouTube! Lavigne’s 2011 critically acclaimed release, Goodbye Lullaby, featured the smash-hit singles “What The Hell,” and “Smile,” and her 5th studio album, Avril Lavigne, debuted at #1 in 22 countries and featured the top 10 single in 44 countries, “Here’s To Never Growing Up” and the smash hit duet with husband Chad Kroeger, “Let Me Go.” Outside the recording studio, Lavigne oversees her lifestyle apparel brand, Abbey Dawn and has released three fragrances, Forbidden Rose, Black Star, and Wild Rose. In 2010, Lavigne founded The Avril Lavigne Foundation, in support of children and youth living with serious illnesses or disabilities. For more information visit: avrillavigne.com and theavrillavignefoundation.org
About Nicole Scherzinger
An international recording artist, dance and television personality, Nicole Scherzinger was named a Special Olympics Global Ambassador in 2013. The former lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls, who has sold more than 16 million albums as a solo artist, has a personal connection to the Special Olympics mission, growing up with an aunt who has an intellectual disability. She has supported Special Olympics athletes by attending local games, and inviting them to visit her on the set of X-Factor UK, her performances of CATS on Broadway and her current show I Can Do That on NBC. She also recorded a holiday song, “A Very Special Christmas” to benefit Special Olympics. For more information visit: NicoleScherzingerOfficial.com
O.A.R. is a rock band that has built a loyal fan base through hit songs such as “Love and Memories,” “Shattered,” and “Peace,” as well as extensive touring that has seen them sell out venues all around the world. The band will kick-off their annual summer tour this August. For more information go to OfARevolution.com
About Cody Simpson
In 2008, 11-year-old Cody Simpson opened a YouTube account and began posting videos of his own musical performances. His debut single, “iYiYi,” was released in 2010 cracked the Top 20 in Australia, thanks in no small part to a cameo by Flo Rida. Cody’s fifth EP, “Free” is scheduled to be released on June 23, 2015. It’s his first album as an independent artist since creating his own label, Coast House. For more information visit: codysimpson.com
About J Balvin
J Balvin has been hailed by Billboard as “the biggest breakout act Latin music has seen in many years”. Creating a unique urban fusion that blends influences from Puerto Rico’s pioneering reggaton artists, the distinct Colombian rhythms of his heritage and a love for progressive Hip-Hop and R&B, J Balvin is undeniably Latin music’s most significant new artist. This stature was recently confirmed again as he received the Billboard Latin Music Awards for New Artist of the Year, Latin Rhythm Song of the Year and Latin Rhythm Songs Artist of the Year. This follows on the heels of J Balvin’s recent sweep of ALL Urban categories at Univision’s Premio Lo Nuestro: Urban Artist of the Year, Urban Album of the Year, Urban Song of the Year and Urban Collaboration of the Year. With over 400 Million views and still growing, “Ay Vamos” continues to rank as one of the most-viewed music videos in the country. For more information visit: http://jbalvinelnegocio.com
About Siedah Garrett
GRAMMY Award winner and two-time Oscar nominated singer/songwriter Siedah Garrett has created a musical body of work that spans over three decades and includes collaborations with the most iconic names in entertainment. Discovered by Quincy Jones, Garrett co-wrote “Man In The Mirror” for Michael Jackson, and recorded as his duet partner on “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”. She has toured internationally as featured vocalist with Jackson, Jones, and Madonna, and previously has co-written theme songs for the 2007 Special Olympics and the 2010 World Expo. Garrett has served as vocal producer on the series American Idol, where, along with Quincy Jones, she wrote “Time To Care” for the Idol Gives Back campaign in 2007, which raised $30 million for young people in the US and Africa. For more information visit: Siedah.com
About Debbie Allen
Debbie Allen continues to be one of the most respected, relevant, and versatile talents in the entertainment industry today and is an internationally recognized director, choreographer and author. Allen has received three Emmy awards honoring her choreography, and two Emmys and one Golden Globe for her role as “Lydia Grant” in the hit series, Fame. Allen has choreographed for artists such as Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jackson, and also holds the distinction of having choreographed the Academy Awards a total of ten times, five in consecutive years. For more information: debbieallendanceacademy.com
FiveCurrents is a creative and production firm that strategically plans and develops stadium spectacles, broadcasts, corporate, and live events. FiveCurrents’ goal is to capture the power of human emotion by creating deep and lasting impressions. During the past 25 years, Scott Givens and his team at FiveCurrents have worked on twelve Olympic Games, four Paralympic Games and nine major multi-sport games, along with hundreds of other world-class events, including the Clinton Global Initiative and the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. More information on FiveCurrents can be found at www.fivecurrents.com. Anyone interested in being part of Production, please contact Mark Poncher, Executive Producer, at SO2015info@fivecurrents.com.
WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE programming reaches more than 650 million homes worldwide in 35 languages. WWE Network, the first-ever 24/7 over-the-top premium network that includes all 12 live pay-per-views, scheduled programming and a massive video-on-demand library, is currently available in more than 175 countries. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, Munich and Tokyo. Additional information on WWE (NYSE: WWE) can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to http://www.wwe.com/worldwide/