As 6,500 athletes from 165 nations took part in the Opening Ceremonies of the Special Olympics World Games, it was another important feather in the cap of one of the country's most historic venues, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and the first of several classic L.A.-area venues hosting key events and inspiring athletes this week.

The Coliseum opened in 1923 as a memorial for World War I soldiers at a cost of just under $1 million. Since then, it has hosted practically every major sporting event and large-scale gathering imaginable, including the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, the latter held shortly after the Coliseum was designated as a National Historic Landmark.

“We're thrilled that USC is able to host a number of the events, including the opening ceremonies at the Coliseum, which is one of the country's iconic athletic venues,” University of Southern California Athletic Director Pat Haden said. “It's a great place for the World Games."

“You start in 1923 (at the Coliseum) and you have Olympic events, the Pope, Robert F. Kennedy, the Dodgers played there... you have USC, UCLA and the Rams. You can imagine how many great athletes have played there. It has a football history like very few stadiums. It's a classic, classic facility.”

Haden knows a bit about the Coliseum and historic venues in Los Angeles, starring for USC in college and playing his professional career with the Southern California Sun of the World Football League and the NFL's Los Angeles Rams.

“When I was running out on the field at the Coliseum, you realize all the great athletes that have come before you,” he said. “You are part of this tremendous continuum of fantastic athletes that have graced the field.”

The Coliseum is just one of several facilities in Los Angeles with a long and storied history that will add to their legacy by hosting events in the Special Olympics World Games.

“You don't have to travel too far around town to travel to a great sporting venue,” Haden said. “To have 7,000 athletes in our city and our venues is a very, very special event. We're thrilled to be a part of it.”

Other historic host venues include...

Pauley Pavilion, UCLA

The home of World Games volleyball action, Pauley Pavilion is one of the most recognizable and historic college basketball venues in the country thanks the dominance of the UCLA's teams in the 1960s and '70s under the tutelage of legendary coach John Wooden and standout players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton.

Pauley Pavilion was built in 1965 and for the building's first 10 seasons, UCLA only lost at home twice. The facility also played host to the men's and women's gymnastics events in the 1984 Olympics, and to a number of concerts and presidential debates. The original “jump circle” from the basketball court was sold for a then-record $325,000 in 2011.

Wilson and Harding Golf Courses, Los Angeles

One of the largest parks in the state, Griffith Park is a sprawling mix of facilities that has become renowned for showing up in hundreds of Hollywood movies. One of the many unique aspects of the park are the Wilson and Harding golf courses, which will play host to World Games athletes.

The two courses, which were built in 1923, remain the most-played in Los Angeles County and have a long tradition in the sport. Babe Ruth often played there, and during the 1938 Los Angeles Open, Babe Didrikson became the first woman to play in a men's tour event. Plus, the double-decker driving range was one of the first of its kind on the West Coast.

Marine Stadium, Long Beach

Recently designated as a state historic site, this top-flight facility will be the site of Kayaking events for the World Games. Marine Stadium was created to host rowing events in the 1932 Olympics and was the first man-made rowing course in the U.S. It also hosted the rowing trials prior to the 1968 Olympics.

The stadium is also known as the home of powerboat racing on the West Coast, as the Southern California Speedboat Club has been putting on races annually in August since 1946.