Special Olympics competitors arriving in Southern California were greeted by a logistics mess that forced many to sleep on a gymnasium floor before they were finally shuttled to their host cities on Wednesday.
At least 1,500 athletes and coaches spent the night at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles after flights and buses arrived late on Tuesday, Special Olympics spokesman Rich Perelman said.
By midday Wednesday, the athletes from Norway, Mexico, Venezuela, Kenya, the Cayman Islands and other countries were on their way to their host cities. That was just in time to clear the campus for the arrival of thousands more scheduled to show up Wednesday afternoon.
"It really wasn’t bad," said Collins Marigiri, the Kenyan team’s swim coach, adding with a smile that it was his and his team's first trip to the USA, so even getting stuck overnight in a college gymnasium was a new and interesting experience for them. "The athletes didn’t have any problems. They had food. They had water. They had a place to sleep. There were no medical issues."
The Red Cross provided blankets and water.