UCLA football: Mora finds Special Olympics World Games inspiring

Jim Mora

UCLA Coach Jim Mora speaks to reporters July 30, 2015, during Pac-12 Conference media days at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

UCLA Coach Jim Mora has been busy the past two weeks, though it’s had little to do with Bruins football.

Mora and his wife, Shannon, are longtime supporters of the Special Olympics, both through their Count On Me Foundation and personally. Shannon Mora’s sister has Down syndrome, which led the couple to get involved 30 years ago.

Since mid-July the Moras have been active with the Special Olympics World Games in town. Events are being held at UCLA, among other places.

“We were asked to be honorary chairs for the beach communities,” Mora said. “We hosted Hungary and Nepal in Manhattan Beach and took their athletes to the beach, which was really, really cool to see some athletes who have never been in the ocean boogie boarding and bodysurfing and things like that.”


Mora said the highlight for him was walking in with the Nepal contingent at the opening ceremony, which were held at the Coliseum.

“You’re talking about a country that suffered a devastating tragedy with the earthquake,” Mora said. “They saw millions of people living in the streets. It was a tremendous challenge to get to Los Angeles and participate in the Games. But the energy you felt walking down that tunnel and walking out on that stage, and to be able to listen to the motivational speakers, as amazing. I think it puts things in perspective.”

The World Games run through Sunday, with the closing ceremony in the Coliseum starting at 6 p.m.