Third Annual Angel City Games Hosts 220 Athletes
Angel City Games held its third annual adaptive sports festival June 22-25 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Angel City Games is an inclusive competition open to athletes of all skill levels who have physical or visual impairments. The event featured clinics and competitions in track and field, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, swimming, and archery. The venues at UCLA offered athletes the opportunity to compete and learn in world-class facilities, participate in clinics to hone their skills, and engage in competition to challenge themselves against other athletes. This year's event drew 220 athletes from 15 states.
Participants ranged in age from three to 72 years old and included Paralympians and amateur athletes, and military veterans and active-duty military personnel. In addition to the five adaptive sports competitions and clinics, the event included a celebrity basketball game, its first Charity Fun Run & Roll and Great Games Family Cookout, and an expanded Angel Experience Zone for kids.
Sanctioned by Adaptive Sports USA, the games include educational clinics with first-time attendees guided by experienced coaches and athletes, and opportunities for children to begin to challenge themselves in public. Clinic coaches included U.S. Paralympic Team members Angela Madsen, Jerome Avery, Cody Jones, and Ahkeel Whitehead for track and field; Trooper Johnson and Alma Rodriguez for wheelchair basketball; and Jeff Fabry for archery.
A highlight of the weekend was the celebrity basketball game on Saturday night, which included celebrities and athletes such as emcee Donna D'Errico (Baywatch), Stretch Middleton (Harlem Globetrotters), actress Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs), swimmer Aaron Peirsol (seven-time Olympic medalist and 200m backstroke record holder), actor Rob Morrow (Northern Exposure), actor Kenny Johnson (The Shield), actor Jacob Bertrand (Kirby Buckets), Angel City Sports cofounder Ezra Frech (14 national track and field records), NFL veteran Kevin Kluwe, actor Boyd Kestner (The Outsiders), wrestler Lisa Marie Varon, U.S. Paralympian Matt Scott, mixed martial arts fighter Mariano Mendoza, and Najee Detiege (Power Rangers). Special guest coaches were Toby Bailey (NCAA basketball national champion) and Brendon Ayanbadejo (UCLA football, Super Bowl winner).