Nearly 200 members of the German Special Olympics delegation were sent off to the international games in grand style Friday morning during a pep rally at Cal State L.A.
The delegation members entered the University gym under an arch of colorful balloons to the roar of applause and spirited music. They were met by Eddie the Eagle and Cal State L.A. athletes, as well as band members and drill teams from Mark Keppel and San Gabriel high schools.
Alhambra, Monterey Park and Lincoln Heights served as host towns for the German delegation, which arrived on Tuesday for the Special Olympics World Games 2015. The competition takes place Saturday and Sunday at venues across the L.A. area.
Cal State L.A. provided housing, meals and training facilities for the athletes, coaches and staff. The German athletes are competing in 18 sports, including soccer, power lifting, ping pong, basketball and judo.
The German delegation was welcomed by Jose Gomez, Cal State L.A. senior vice president and chief operating officer.
“The Special Olympics show the meaning of courage, joy and determination,” Gomez said during the rally. “The World Games also show us what we have in common as people of the world, no matter what country we call home.”
The German team stayed in the University housing complex, which was built to accommodate athletes for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. The Olympic judo competition was held at the Cal State L.A. gym.
The Special Olympics is the biggest athletic event held in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympics. About 7,000 athletes from 177 countries are competing in the games, which feature 25 Olympic-style sports.