Let the Games begin! The Special Olympics World Games kicked off in Los Angeles on Saturday, and First Lady Michelle Obama was on hand to welcome the 6500-plus athletes with intellectual disabilities from 165 countries who gathered for the opening ceremony.
"To all of our athletes, I just want you to know that all those people won't just be cheering for you, they're going to be learning from you," Obama told the crowd at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. "You're filling us with so much hope. And you're uniting us in a way that nothing else can."
She added, "I want you all to know that my husband and I, we are so proud of all of you, so incredibly proud of you. And we love you all from the bottom of our hearts."
President Obama, who is currently traveling in Africa, greeted the athletes in a pre-taped video. "Where some see limitation, you see opportunity. You represent the very best of the hunman spirit," he said.
The athletes will participate in 25 sports during the nine-day competition. A flaming torch carried from Greece was used to light the Coliseum's Olympic beacon.
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(Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images)