Atlanta, July 20, 2015 – The Coca‑Cola Company, a Founding Partner of Special Olympics International, is encouraging fans worldwide to “Reach Up” in support of people with intellectual disabilities as thousands of athletes converge in Los Angeles later this month for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015).
In support of Special Olympics athletes everywhere, The Coca‑Cola Company worked with rock band O.A.R. and singer Cody Simpson to record a unified song in honor of the event, titled “Reach Up.” The song also features vocals from Breanna Bogucki, a singer and decorated Special Olympics athlete from Illinois who has autism, and Madison Tevlin, a young Canadian woman with Down syndrome who became a viral singing sensation earlier this year.
Since its premiere in mid-June, the music video for “Reach Up” has garnered more than 1 million views. When it was released, Coca‑Cola pledged to donate one dollar – up to $100,000 – to Special Olympics for every music video share using the #ReachUp hashtag. To ensure the Company meets its goal, fans can continue sharing the video with friends and family to maximize the benefit to the Special Olympics Movement.
The song, which encourages people of all abilities to reach for their dreams and never give up, was written by O.A.R. lead singer Marc Roberge, Nathan Chapman and Kevin Kadish. During the World Games, Coca‑Cola will reunite O.A.R., Simpson, Bogucki and Tevlin to perform “Reach Up” at the event’s Opening Ceremony on Saturday, July 25. The performance will air on ESPN, the official broadcaster of the World Games, as part of a three-hour live telecast of the Opening Ceremony beginning at 9 p.m. ET. The program also will feature “Good Morning America” co-host Robin Roberts and ESPN’s Lindsay Czarniak and Kevin Negandhi.
“The Coca‑Cola Company has been a dedicated supporter of Special Olympics since the organization was founded in 1968,” said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Coca‑Cola Company. “For more than 47 years, The Coca‑Cola Company and Special Olympics have shared moments of joy and happiness through our longstanding partnership, deeply rooted in shared values and the pure joy of sport. And with the World Summer Games returning to American soil for the first time in 16 years, it was important for us to support the event in a major way, including uniting the world through music,” added Kent, who also serves on the Board of Special Olympics International.
“When Coke approached us to do the song, I really had no idea how big this could be,” said Roberge. “We’re so proud of the success of ‘Reach Up,’ and it’s amazing to see so many people embrace the song and celebrate the accomplishments of more than 6,000 outstanding athletes.” Added Roberge: “I think it’s fair to say there would be no “Reach Up” without Bree and Maddy. They inspired us, energized us, and, most importantly, brought a smile to our faces every time they walked into the studio. We are honored to bring “Reach Up” to the World Games, and Cody, Bree, Maddy and I will surely feel the inspiration as we perform the song at the L.A. Coliseum.”
Beyond the “Reach Up” performance, Coca‑Cola is working to drive awareness and make the World Games a huge success in a variety of ways. The Company is recruiting more than 2,000 employees as volunteer “Fans in the Stands” to cheer on the athletes and supporting venue operations by helping to refresh athletes, families, officials and volunteers with more than 1.5 million servings of Coca‑Cola products. In addition, a commemorative 8-oz. glass bottle, outdoor advertising and retail promotions will enable consumers to support Special Olympics by volunteering or donating to the event.
The Coca‑Cola Company is the Founding Partner and Global Sponsor of Special Olympics, the world’s largest health and sports organization dedicated to people with intellectual disabilities. Since 1968 – Special Olympics’ inception – the Company has maintained a deep commitment to the organization and has provided more than $190 million in support of its programs through product, equipment, donations and marketing support.
The Coca‑Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Led by Coca‑Cola, one of the world's most valuable and recognizable brands, our Company's portfolio features 20 billion-dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca‑Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of 1.9 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world's top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system associates. For more information, visit www.coca-colacompany.com, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CocaColaCo or find us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/the-coca-cola-company.
With 6,500 athletes and 2,000 coaches representing 165 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 in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, is expected to attract 80,000 spectators. For more information on the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.LA2015.org and on social with #ReachUpLA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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 1.4 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 94,000 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 www.specialolympics.org. Engage with us on: Twitter @specialolympics, fb.com/specialolympics, youtube.com/specialolympicshq, instagram.com/specialolympics and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.