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Olympics

Special Olympics athletes arrive in host towns after long transportation delays

Special Olympics athletes, coaches and delegation officials have been finally housed after being forced to spend Tuesday night inside the Loyola Marymount University gymnasium due to transportation operation errors.

The transportation system errors affected more than 7,200 Special Olympics participants, who were held up at Los Angeles International Airport and at the Delegation Welcome Center at Loyola Marymount University.

These teams came to Los Angeles to compete on the field against other Special Olympics athletes from around the world “and they will do so,” Patrick McClenahan, president and chief executive of the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games Organizing Committee, said in a statement.

Flights were delayed and canceled. The wait time for processing the teams was much slower than expected.

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In some cases, athletes, their handlers and delegation officials had to wait up to six hours for transportation, according to the organizing committee.

The Los Angeles World Airports provided eight airfield buses and four employee shuttles, as well as 15 city buses to transport the athletes and their coaches.

After the lengthy wait, most of the athletes moved to their host town accommodations. But about 1,500 Special Olympics participants were unable to go to their host towns and had to spend the night at Loyola Marymount.

On Friday, the Special Olympics participants will be welcomed into the Athlete Village at UCLA and USC. The game’s opening ceremony will start Saturday evening at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

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For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.

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