Skip to Content

Solvang Named Special Olympics Host Town

A third Santa Barbara County city has teamed up with Special Olympics to take part in the 2015 World Games. On Wednesday, Solvang was officially named a Host Town for the World Games, which will be held in Los Angeles starting July 25 th , 2015.

During a ceremony in Solvang Park, city leaders and Special Olympics representatives made the announcement Solvang will join Santa Barbara and Santa Maria has a Host Town. The program, part cultural experience, part training opportunity, will bring 100 athletes and coaches to the city for a three-day period prior to the opening ceremonies.

“We will be housing the athletes and the coaches, providing great food and lots of community events and opportunities to exchange a nice cultural effort,” said Tracy Farhad, Executive Director of the Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau. “We get to welcome 100 athletes from around the world to come and discover good old Solvang, USA.”

Todd Rogers, 2008 Olympic gold medalist and Solvang resident is thrilled the city is teaming up with Special Olympics. “It’s a great opportunity for the city to kind of present itself, align itself with Special Olympics, which is a fantastic organization doing really good things, so I think its a great opportunity for our little town to be involved and put out best foot forward.”

Rogers spoke at Wednesday’s announcement and had a message for the 7000 athletes that will take part in the 9-day-long World Games. “Just to get out there and enjoy themselves, enjoy the process of getting there, enjoy the crowds, enjoy the fact that you have family and friends and supporters there,” said Rogers.

News of the World Games coming to Los Angeles was something of great interest for Raymond Hooper, a Special Olympic athlete from Santa Barbara. “I am very, very excited to go down to World Games because 1984 Olympics were held there 30 years ago,” said Hooper.

He says the games are more than just an athletic competition. “Special Olympics builds your self esteem, builds your self worth and you get an opportunity to meet other athletes. You get a chance to learn about sportsmanship and the spirit of competition.”

With Solvang now officially a Host Town, city leaders will need to raise about $50,000 to fund the program. However, they point out that no money will come out of the city’s coffers.

“The city supports it wholeheartedly,” said Farhad. “As we did with Amgen Tour of California, we’re all working together for something that benefits the city as a whole, so it’s definitely a community effort and we welcome everybody to come forward, volunteer, be a sponsor and come feel good about it.”

Solvang organizers are encouraging members and businesses in the community to take part and support the athletes. Solvang is hoping to welcome the delegation from Denmark, but won’t find out exactly who will be visiting the city until Special Olympics makes an announcement in November.

Special Olympics officials say more Central Coast cities will also join the Host Town program and upcoming announcements on those will be held in the future.

The Special Olympics World Games will be held July 25-August 2, 2015. It will be the largest sporting event to be held in Southern California since the 1984 Olympic Games and will be the single biggest sporting event held in the world in 2015.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

News Channel 3-12

Email the News Channel 3-12 Team


News Channel 3-12 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content