Mora recalls Special Olympics World Games Opening Ceremony
BURBANK, Calif. – Walking into the Los Angeles Coliseum filled with thousands of excited fans is nothing new to UCLA head coach Jim Mora; he led the Bruins to a decisive three-touchdown victory over the Trojans there in 2013. Being involved with the Special Olympics is also old hat; he and his wife have worked with organization for decades.
But walking down the tunnel entrance to the Coliseum with the Nepal contingent at the Los Angeles 2015 Special Olympics World Games Opening Ceremony is something Mora especially cherishes.
“The energy that you felt walking down that tunnel and walking out on to the stage and being able to listen to the speakers that were so motivational, it was amazing,” Mora said at 2015 Pac-12 Football Media Days. “I think it puts a lot of things in perspective.”
Mora and his wife Shannon, who he mentioned serves on the Board of Directors of the Washington State Special Olympics and Georgia State Special Olympics, hosted athletes from Hungary and Nepal in Manhattan Beach for the Special Olympics and took them to the beach.
“[It] was really cool to see athletes that have never been in the ocean, in the ocean boogie boarding and body surfing and things like that,” Mora said.
Still, nothing beats that opening ceremony.
“The highlight for me was being able to walk in with Nepal on Saturday night at the Coliseum… You’re talking about a country that suffered a devastating tragedy with the earthquake... It was a tremendous challenge for them to even be able to get to Los Angeles and participate in the games,” he said. “These athletes, it’s not always about winning and losing, it’s about competing and the joy in competing, so it’s eye opening.”