Athletes, Paralympians, and attendees came from across the country to attend the fifth annual Angel City Games at the University of California, Los Angeles, June 20-23. The Angel City Games is the premier adaptive sports festival in the Western United States, offering clinics, competitions and special events for people of all ages and skill levels who have a physical disability or mobility impairment.
The Angel City Games is a family friendly event with wide array of activities and special events throughout the week for all to enjoy. The goal is to celebrate the talents and strengths of adaptive athletes, and create a community of support and understanding around sports. People with physical disabilities can learn new skills from expert coaches, compete in sports they love, and everyone can be part of the experience to get a sense of what being an adaptive athlete is all about. Though Los Angeles is the host for the Angel City Games, participants in the past have traveled from all over the country and world to compete, learn and connect with others in the disability community.
This year’s games offered seven adaptive sports clinics and competitions—track and field, swimming, wheelchair tennis and basketball, archery, sitting volleyball, and table tennis—and featured many record-setting achievements. The 2019 games, which featured more than 400 athletes and over 20 Paralympians, produced 117 adaptive track and field USA national records
U.S. Paralympic swimmer Mallory Weggemann broke an American record in the 50-yard butterfly, which she previously set in 2010, by nearly a full second. She is currently training for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and gearing up for World Championships in London in September. Fourteen-year-old Ezra Frech, son of Angel City Sports founder Clayton Frech, broke his personal record in the high jump and cleared a height that qualifies him for national team status and a shot at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
In addition, Catherine “Annie” Carey from Boise, Idaho, set national records in the high jump and 200m. She will represent Team USA at the Junior World Championship in Switzerland this summer.
The annual celebrity wheelchair game also offered exciting competition. Celebrity players included Kim Raver, an actress on Grey’s Anatomy; Gabriel Luna, the new Terminator in Dark Fate; Joe Walker, a linebacker with the Arizona Cardinals; and Kevin Sizemore, an actor on Fear the Walking Dead.
On the last day of the games, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined the expanded Experience Zone, where attendees tried adaptive sports, and ran in the Angel City Youth Council Fun Run and Roll, which featured participants dressed as their favorite superheroes. Actor Christian Bale, who played Batman, also attended the games on Sunday.
“Our event this year was perhaps our best, with records being broken, a huge spike in athlete participation, and athletes inspiring everyone in attendance,” said Clayton Frech.
Launched in 2015 and sanctioned by Adaptive Sports USA, Angel City Games presented by The Hartford is an annual celebration of adaptive and Paralympic sport and an inclusive competition open to athletes of all skill levels who have physical or visual impairments. Planning is underway for the 2020 Angel City Games, which will be held in Los Angeles early next summer.
Sources: The O&P Edge, AngelCityGames.org
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