On July 25, 2015, Hundreds of Kaiser Permanente employees and physicians had the privilege to join leaders from around the world and First Lady Michelle Obama in welcoming the Special Olympics World Games to Los Angeles.
On Saturday evening, the excitement was electric as the 6,500 brave athletes from across the globe marched into the LA Coliseum to the thunderous cheers of 62,000 fans and continued until the final leg of the cross-country torch run and symbolic lighting of the Special Olympics cauldron at the end of the Opening Ceremony.
The star-studded event, broadcast live on ESPN and seen by millions around the world, featured appearances by Stevie Wonder, Colin Farrell, Jimmy Kimmel, Michael Phelps, and many other celebrities. But the true stars of the Games were the Special Olympics athletes who traveled from 165 countries to demonstrate their athleticism, courage, determination, and joy at living out their dreams.
More than 650 Kaiser Permanente physicians and 160 staff members provided care to the athletes participating in the World Games competitions. As these talented and compassionate individuals provide culturally responsive care for the athletes, hundreds more volunteered to staff KP’s sponsorship presence at UCLA and USC.
In addition, about 3,000 Kaiser Permanente employees cheered on athletes as Fans in the Stands, and thousands more were “unofficial” fans in the stands as they cheered from the sidelines.
The Opening Ceremony kicked off nine days of competition in 25 sports at various venues throughout the Los Angeles area until Aug. 2. For photos and highlights of this memorable event, visit kp.org/specialolympics.