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Photos of Special Olympics Fans From All Over the World Prove Love Is Everywhere

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More than 6,500 athletes from 165 different countries headed to Los Angeles for the 2015 World Games this week and with them came fans from all over the world. On Thursday, we attended the Cycling and Open Water Swimming events in Long Beach, California, and met people from all different backgrounds. We wanted to know: What does it mean to be a Special Olympics fan? Here are some of our favorite responses:

1. “It’s good for us as a family to support our athletes. We are proud of them. We are proud because we are Belgian.” — Johan Van Derwelk, Belgium


2. “I’m a very proud mom. She won the gold yesterday. All her dreams have come true. She said she wanted to make new friends, new memories and win gold, and that’s what she’s done.” — Jacqui Byland (left), England


3. “We’re here on holiday, so it’s a coincidence we’re here. [The athletes] love to do this, and it’s great fun to see them doing their sport.” — Rick Van Aarle, Holland


4. “It’s so beautiful.” — Marjanca Lukani (middle), Slovenia


5. “It’s a blessing to me to be able to encourage someone.” — Ray Thompson, USA (left)


6. “My daughter Sandy went to [the World Games in] Athens, and she wanted to come to the next one. She won gold in the relay with her three friends. It’s better to celebrate as a team than an individual.” — Norman Freeman, Australia


7. “I love them for who they are, even if they don’ win. [Watching them], it feels like my heart is going to explode.” — Angela Dorelli, Costa Rica 


8. “I’ve never seen him as happy as he is here.” — Claire Connell (left), Ireland



Originally published: July 31, 2015
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