If you recall the joy of watching Chris Sutter, the son of Kings coach Darryl Sutter, give pep talks on the bench to members of the NHL All-Star team last January, or the exuberance of Champ Pederson, the older brother of the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson, greet the Angels’ Albert Pujols during the Home Run Derby in Cincinnati at the MLB All-Star game, then you’re already dialed into to what kind of all-star moment is about to happen — more than 7,000 special-needs athletes from 177 countries will walk into the Coliseum to officially launch the World Games for what’ll be labeled as the “largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world” this year, and “the single biggest event in L.A. since the 1984 Olympics.”
Consider the contingent from Nepal. Five athletes are attending, four of them competing in track and field. But because of the recent earthquakes that have devastated their country, there was some doubt they could make it. Dr. Jyoti Sherchan, the chairman of the Special Olympics Nepal, recently sent an email to organizers in Manhattan Beach, the host city for the group when it arrives, that explained how thousands of temples, monasteries, school buildings and heritage sites have been destroyed by the quakes of April 25 and May 12, with more tremblers coming all the time. “Special Olympics Nepal is planning to get involved in the reconstruction and social rehabilitation, for the humanity, Special Athletes and their family, which is most challenging,” Dr. Sherchan wrote. “We will request all the friends to join hands in this mission in Nepal.”
Competition in the 25 events actually begins Saturday morning, including the Nepalese competing in track and field on the USC campus, which also has basketball and swimming. UCLA is accommodating soccer and tennis, and the downtown Convention Center puts on bocce. Sunday’s events include the triathlon in Long Beach; handball, table tennis, badminton and roller skating at the Convention Center; bowling at Lucky Strikes at LA Live, softball and gymnastics at UCLA and beach volleyball in Long Beach.
ESPN coverage of the ceremonies begins at 6 p.m.; KABC-Channel 7 re-airs the event from 9 p.m. to midnight. Closing ceremonies are Aug. 2 at the Coliseum. More info: www.la2015.org
ALSO THIS WEEK:
The wind-delayed 144th British Open has a special Monday conclusion — and beyond, if there’s a tie — starting at 3 a.m. on ESPN … The Dodgers end a 10-day, 10-game post All-Star break with four games in New York against the Mets from Thursday-Sunday on SportsNet LA … the MLB Network has the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies (Sunday, 10:30 a.m.) for Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Craig Biggio, Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa … The CONCACAF Gold Cup final is set for Philadelphia on Sunday (4:30 p.m., FS1), should the U.S. team make it past Wednesday’s semifinal … The Galaxy faces FC Barcelona (without Messi) in the International Cup match at the Rose Bowl on Tuesday at 8 p.m. … More to read at this link ...