Six Special Olympics Georgia athletes set to compete in 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles

State contingency part of 7,000 athletes representing 177 countries; Opening Ceremonies televised live on ESPN

Atlanta – July 16, 2015 – Six Special Olympics Georgia athletes, seven coaches and sports managers, and one unified partner will be a part of one of the biggest sporting events this season around the globe – the 2015 Special Olympics World Games taking place in Los Angeles

July 25-August 2. The Georgia delegation leaves on Tuesday, July 21 for California as a part of this bi-annual event. The Georgia athletes attending World Games are: Will Crain (kayaking – Gainesville, Ga.); Michael Crofton (sailing – Fayetteville, Ga.); Julie Doss (gymnastics – Valdosta, Ga.); Brooke Hasfjord (aquatics – Cumming, Ga.); Shannon Laffey (gymnastics – Marietta, Ga.) and Jennnifer Maddox (equestrian – Stockbridge, Ga.).

In addition, Todd Youngblood and Kelli Britt will serve as sports managers, while Lynette Swanson, Debbie Parrish, Davina Ford, Michael Wilson and Pam Laffey will serve as Team USA coaches. John Kirkland from Macon, Ga. is the Unified Sports Partner in the sailing events. There will be a celebratory send-off party at the Special Olympics Georgia headquarters in Atlanta on Monday, July 20. American Honda Motor Company is the presenting sponsor of the Special Olympics Georgia delegation.

“This is a tremendous and inspiring moment,” said Special Olympics Georgia CEO Georgia Milton-Sheats. “These athletes, the unified sports partner, coaches and sports managers have worked so hard to get prepared, and now they are going to be on the biggest stage possible with an ESPN audience on top of that.

“We are extremely proud of our Georgia delegation and know that they will give their all while competing at the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.”

This year, the Summer World Games are taking place within the United States for the first time since 2001, and it will be the largest sporting and humanitarian event in the world this year. That includes more than 7,000 athletes and 2,000 coaches representing 177 countries in 25 sports. The six athletes from Special Olympics Georgia will be a part of the 344 athletes competing from the United States.

On top of that, the Opening Ceremonies of the Special Olympics World Games will be televised live on ESPN on July 25 from the Los Angeles Coliseum at 9 p.m. EDT. Among the celebrities at the Opening Ceremonies include First Lady Michelle Obama, late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, former NBA star Yao Ming, former Olympic gold medalists Greg Louganis and Michael Phelps, actress Eva Longoria, recording artist Avril Lavigne and legendary recording artist Stevie Wonder.

About Special Olympics Georgia SOGA provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for 26,698 children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills, and friendships with their families, other Special Olympic athletes and the community. For more information, visit

For more information about Special Olympics Georgia, visit

To learn more about the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games, please visit