Rafer Johnson and Special Olympics Ambassador Matthew Raymundi.

California State University Northridge will be hosting an estimated 500 athletes July 21-24 for the upcoming 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games. The visitors will stay in student housing until July 24.

CSUN is in partnership with the communities of Chatsworth, Northridge, Reseda, Tarzana, Winnetka and Woodland Hills, which were all selected as host towns The communities agreed to provide food, transportation and special events.

The athletes, coaches and their delegates staying at CSUN are coming from Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Eastern Timor, Helles (Greece), Malta Serbia and Venezuela.

“Given CSUN’s longstanding commitment to providing inclusive opportunities for our community, we are excited to host these exceptional athletes and participate in the 2015 Special Olympics World Games,” CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison said. “It is particularly appropriate that we will host athletes from six countries, as CSUN is one of the most diverse and international campuses in the country.”

On July 24, the visitors will be transferred to the UCLA and USC campuses to continue preparation for the opening ceremonies on July 25.

An estimated 7,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities from 170 countries are expected to participate in 25 sports including aquatics, gymnastics, track and field, soccer, basketball, bowling and power lifting.

This is the 14th annual Special Olympics World Summer Games and they are back in U.S. for the first time since 1999, when they were held in Raleigh, N.C.

It is expected to be the biggest sporting event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympics.

The games open July 25, and run through Aug. 2.

—Mike Terry

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