Biola to host Special Olympics athletes

Biola will house and feed Special Olympics athletes from Russia and Macau this summer.

Dakota Ball, Writer

This summer, Biola’s campus will serve as a temporary living space for the Special Olympics teams from Russia and Macau.

The city of La Mirada won the bid in May 2014 to host the 2015 summer Special Olympics from July 21-24. As a result, Biola will provide lodging for a total of 359 athletes — 240 athletes from Russia and 119 from Macau. The team will stay in one of the dorms and Bon Appetit will donate the meals for the entirety of their stay.

Officials from the city of La Mirada attended an event in Los Angeles where they met with the Special Olympics committee. After La Mirada presented the bid, the committee was able to tour the city and Biola’s campus.

“When the Special Olympics world games committee came, they visited Biola University and La Mirada. They were very impressed at the accommodations and just the community as a whole,” said Lori Thompson, community services director for the city of La Mirada.

“In La Mirada, Biola is the only place that’s actually hosting students,” Thompson said. “Russia is one of the largest delegations coming. So we have one of the largest delegations of the different groups coming to La Mirada.”

It was originally decided that the athletes would stay in Sigma. However, due to the increase of athletes from the original number of 200, the athletes will stay in Horton Hall instead of Sigma, Velasco said.

“We will be meeting with the representatives from each of the countries closer to the time that they arrive so we know their needs and what they have scheduled,” Velasco said.

The city of La Mirada as a whole is providing different kinds of assistance with in-kind sponsorships from various organizations, such as Splash! and the La Mirada City Gym. There also have been some donations from Coca-Cola in Downey and Chick-fil-A in La Habra.

“We will also have a number of events in the afternoons including a party, like a social event, at Splash. There will be swimming, but it will be like a beach party, pirate-themed party. They’ll be attending a concert in the park with our community and then attending some of their events in addition to using those sports locations at Biola and throughout the city to get ready for the games,” Thompson said.

So far there are no student volunteers, only Biola and Special Olympics staff who will help over the summer, Velasco said. Students who are interested in assisting with Special Olympics events on campus over the summer can contact Velasco at [email protected]

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