Trio of Murals Immortalize Special Olympics Athletes’ Journeys into Los Angeles History

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, and decades from now, Los Angeles residents and visitors can
discover the spirit of Special Olympics. As part of Toyota’s “Share the
Journey” campaign for the 2015
Special Olympics World Games
, athletes’ uplifting journeys inspired
three public murals dedicated today. City leaders joined Toyota
executives, artists and Special Olympics fans at the freshly painted Los
Angeles Memorial Coliseum mural to ask for participation and a
celebration of athletes’ joy and courage.

Like the original freeway murals created for the 1984 Olympics in Los
Angeles, the Special Olympics-inspired artwork is intended to stand the
test of time. Working with the Mural
Conservancy of Los Angeles
, the internationally recognized muralist
and original 1984 Olympics artist Kent
returned to create one of his famous realistic portraits.
Twitchell’s piece and the two other murals mark the upcoming global
event and build on the city’s storied history of outdoor art.

“The murals are a lasting gift to Los Angeles to celebrate the
life-changing power of Special Olympics and also honor the rich,
artistic history of this city that has embraced us,” said Jim Lentz, CEO
of Toyota North America. “Special Olympics is not only an important
global sports movement, but also an organization that touches
individuals every day around the world. We hope everyone gets to
experience the impact and help us cheer on the athletes.”

Fans can cheer during 25 Olympic-style events throughout the region,
tune into ESPN coverage or send support through social media that will
be displayed on-site. Toyota is collecting athlete encouragements and
stories with the hashtag #sharethejourney and at
Competition events are free and open to the public, and tickets for the
Opening Ceremony are available for purchase at
via Ticketmaster.

All three murals are just blocks away from venues hosting Special
Olympics World Games events July 25-August 2. Each weaves in the spirit
of Special Olympics through the individual artist’s own iconic vision.
Discover stories around each piece at

  • Located at 1147 S. Hope St. in Los Angeles, Twitchell’s
    piece Special Olympics Monument is a double portrait. Rafer
    Johnson, an LA icon and Olympic gold medalist as well as founder of
    Special Olympics Southern California, stands alongside Loretta
    Claiborne, a successful Special Olympics athlete and motivational
  • Located at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, World Stage Legacy by
    well-known muralist David
    pays tribute to the 2015 Special Olympics World Games and
    events that have taken place at the Coliseum throughout its more than
    90-year history. Figures include Special Olympics athlete and World
    Games Global Messenger, Ramon Hooper alongside iconic figures with a
    connection to the site.
  • Located at 1248 South Figueroa in Los Angeles, The Greatest
    from the artist Cryptik
    features a large-scale portrait of boxing legend Muhammad Ali and
    multiple plaques with inspirational quotations from Special Olympics
    athletes and advocates. Visitors can move up close to the piece to
    explore the words and connections.

“Long after the 2015 Special Olympics World Games end in Los Angeles,
the mural project leaves a historical monument to our athletes’ spirit,
determination and courage,” said Patrick McClenahan, president and CEO
of LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee for this year’s event.
“Toyota’s partnership and support of the mission of Special Olympics has
helped us reach further in spreading the message of acceptance and to
make a lasting impact.”

The Special Olympics World Games will be the largest sports and
humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, hosting 177 countries,
7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches. It is the single biggest event in Los
Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games.

For more information about the Special Olympics World Games, visit
For information about Toyota’s philanthropy programs, visit

About Toyota

Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world’s top automaker and creator of the Prius, is
committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota,
and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we’ve built
more than 25 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate
14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than
40,000 people (more than 32,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American
dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.5 million cars and
trucks (more than 2.2 million in the U.S.) in 2013 – and about 80
percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on
the road today.

Toyota partners with philanthropic organizations across the country,
with a focus on education, safety and the environment. As part of this
commitment, we share the company’s extensive know-how garnered from
building great cars and trucks to help community organizations and other
nonprofits expand their ability to do good. For more information about
Toyota, visit

About the Special Olympics World Games Los
Angeles 2015 (LA2015)

With 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along
with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015
Special Olympics World Games – being staged in Los Angeles July 25 –
August 2, 2015 – will be the largest sports and humanitarian event
anywhere in the world in 2015, and the single biggest event in Los
Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games. The 2015 Special Olympics World
Games, with the unparalleled spirit, enthusiasm, teamwork, joy and
displays of courage and skill that are hallmarks of all Special Olympics
events, will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the
Los Angeles region. The Opening Ceremony, to be held July 25, 2015 in
the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984
Olympic Games, is expected to attract 80,000 spectators. On April 30,
2014, LA2015 and ESPN announced a global programming deal that will see
ESPN bring coverage of World Games to millions of fans around the
world. LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee, is a recognized 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization. For more information on the 2015 Special
Olympics World Games, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities,
visit and
on social with #ReachUpLA on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

About Special Olympics

Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit
through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the
world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become
accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more
respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst
and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is
fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by
Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more
than 4.5 million athletes in 170 countries. With the support of more
than 1.3 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32
Olympic-type sports and more than 81,000 games and competitions
throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals,
foundations and partners, including the Christmas Records Trust, the Law
Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics, The Coca-Cola Company, The
Walt Disney Company and ESPN, Microsoft, Lions Clubs International,
Toys”R”Us, Mattel, P&G, Bank of America, Essilor Vision Foundation, the
B. Thomas Golisano Foundation, Finish Line, The Safeway Foundation, and
Safilo Group. Visit Special Olympics at
Engage with us on: Twitter @specialolympics,,,

About the Mural Conservancy

MCLA’s mission today, as when it was first founded in 1987, is to
restore, maintain and document public mural art in the Los Angeles area.
All of the Olympic Freeway Murals were being painted out in 2011 when
MCLA committed to the restoration and maintenance of as many as could be
successfully rescued. To date MCLA has completed restoration of five of
those murals, with a sixth restoration to be completed in 2015. Two of
those that remain painted over are candidates for planned restoration in
the near future; and two were destroyed in the course of a Harbor
Freeway expansion project. To learn more visit


Golin for Toyota
Sarah Ingram, 310-403-4574
Cruz, 323-384-6358