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Triathlon To Make Special Olympics World Games Debut

Th event will take place on July 26 in Long Beach, Calif.

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Th event will take place on July 26 in Long Beach, Calif.

For the first time in its 47-year history, the Special Olympics World Games will include triathlon as a part of the flagship event, which celebrates the abilities and accomplishments of athletes with intellectual disabilities. The 2015 World Games kick off in Los Angeles on July 25 with 7,000 athletes from 177 countries worldwide set to compete in the 25-sport lineup.

Triathlon will make its debut on July 26 as part of the Unified Sports Experience, where 19 Special Olympics athletes will compete side by side with elite triathletes, celebrities and multisport fans.

In total, nearly 300 athletes are expected to participate in the 1/2-mile swim, 11-mile bike, 3-mile run event in Long Beach, California. Special Olympics triathletes, including four U.S. athletes who qualified at the 2014 Special Olympics National Games, will begin in the first wave at 8 a.m. PT, followed by the general public in the second wave.

“I’m very excited for the Special Olympics. This is such a highlight for the athletes, and it’s been a catalyst for people to realize that not only do the Special Olympics provide opportunities for athletes, but it also allows them to challenge themselves and build self-esteem and become healthier, all within that organization,” said Lisa Rumer, head coach for the U.S. Special Olympics triathlon team.

Triathlon was introduced as a demonstration race at the 2014 National Games in New Jersey, and four of the 16 athletes who participated were selected to advance to Worlds. Noah Dellas (17), Benjamin Heitmeyer (25), Amy Noctor (27) and Courtney Dreyfus (18) have been training with Rumer for two years and are ready to represent the U.S. at the world’s largest sports and humanitarian event in 2015.

Read more: Usatriathlon.org