For nine days, Southern California celebrated the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles with 500,000 spectators attending competitions from Encino to Long Beach.
The games, which took place from July 25-Aug 2, provided an international showcase for 6,500 intellectually disabled athletes in 25 Olympic-style sports.
Among the spectators were 450 Edison International employees, families and friends who volunteered as Fans in the Stands to cheer on the athletes. Edison International, parent company of Southern California Edison (SCE), also donated $50,000 to support the games.
The Edison fans attended beach volleyball games in Long Beach and the basketball finals at USC’s Galen Center. They said the competitions were not only fun, but inspirational.
“I think what’s inspiring about the Special Olympics competitions is it doesn’t matter if you win or lose,” said Marlyn Denter, an SCE manager who attended the basketball competition. “They are the epitome of sportsmanship and mutual support for each other.”
The Edison volunteers went all out in their role as fans. They shook green pompoms, waved signs saying “You Can Do It” and yelled their lungs out.
Natalie Woodson, an SCE project analyst who went to a beach volleyball event, said the athletes seemed to really respond.
“We’re not cheering just for one team, we’re cheering for everybody,” she said. “It’s all about humanity coming together.”
Tammy Tumbling, SCE director of Community Investment and Philanthropy, said Edison’s participation is part of the company’s commitment to the community.
“Our philosophy of giving is that all people should have opportunities to do well,” Tumbling said. “That is why we contribute to nonprofit organizations, such as the Special Olympics World Games, that help meet the needs of underserved communities.”