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Six young male special Olympians standing in line celebrating
Photo of The Team USA delegation is welcomed into the Coliseum to roaring applause

Photo of Edward M. Ellison, MD, executive medical director, Southern California Permanente Medical Group, walks alongside the Special Olympics athletes from Australia in the Parade of Athletes.

 

Photo of Benjamin K. Chu, MD, MPH, president, Kaiser Permanente Southern California walks alongside the Australia delegation representing Kaiser Permanente as a Founding Champion and Official Health Partner.

 

Photo of Bill Caswell, senior vice president of operations and chief operating officer, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, joins the Brazil delegation in the Parade of Athletes.

 

Patrick Couneya, Kathy Landcaster, ije-Enu Edeze, Greg Adams and Ben Chu at the Special Olympics opening ceremony

 

Photo of Thad Woodward, MD and Martha Brewster, practice leader consultant

 

Ije-Enu Udeze and Cynthia Telles at the Special Olympics opening ceremony

Exciting Opening Ceremony Welcomes 6,500 Athletes to LA2015

As the 6,500 athletes from 165 countries marched into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the Opening Ceremony of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, they were greeted with excited cheers, waves, and delight.

The 62,000 fans, including hundreds of Kaiser Permanente leaders, employees, and physicians were treated to a star-studded event that began with a video welcome from President Barack Obama and closed with inspiring words from First Lady Michelle Obama. In between were 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 around the world to demonstrate their athleticism, courage, determination, and pure joy at living out their dreams.

The Opening Ceremony kicked off nine days of competition in 25 sports at various venues throughout the Los Angeles area until Aug. 2. Check out the schedule of World Games events.

Photos from top to bottom:
The Team USA delegation is welcomed into the Coliseum to roaring applause.

Edward M. Ellison, MD, executive medical director, Southern California Permanente Medical Group, walks alongside the Special Olympics athletes from Australia in the Parade of Athletes.

Benjamin K. Chu, MD, MPH, president, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, also walks alongside the Australia delegation representing Kaiser Permanente as a Founding Champion and Official Health Partner.

Bill Caswell, senior vice president of operations and chief operating officer, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, joins the Brazil delegation in the Parade of Athletes.

Enjoying the Special Olympics World Games Opening Ceremony in the Kaiser Permanente section at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum are Patrick T. Courneya, MD, executive vice president, Hospitals, Quality and Care Delivery Excellence, and chief medical officer; Kathy Lancaster, executive vice president and chief financial officer, KFH/HP; Benjamin K. Chu, MD, MPH, group president, KP Southern California and Georgia Regions; Gregory A. Adams, group president, KP Northern California and Mid-Atlantic States; and Ije-Enu Udeze, chief of staff, Office of the CEO.

Thad Woodward, MD, Family Practice and Sports Medicine, Woodland Hills Medical Center, and currently serving as assistant medical director of the Special Olympics World Games, and Martha Brewster, practice leader consultant, Southern California Permanente Medical Group, at the medical tent on the field of the Coliseum. More than 650 Kaiser Permanente physicians are delivering sideline care at the Special Olympics World Games.

Ije-Enu Udeze, chief of staff, Office of the CEO, and Cynthia Telles, PhD, board member, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan Boards of Directors, take in the celebration of more than 6,500 athletes at the Special Olympics World Games Opening Ceremony.