LONG BEACH, Calif. (June 1, 2017) – The annual Rafer Johnson Breakfast With Champions is held on the opening day of the Special Olympics Southern California Summer Games and celebrates the passion of sports. The Breakfast will once again live up to its name as the tradition of champions will be a highlight of the morning.
The 48th annual Summer Games begins on Saturday, June 10 with Opening Ceremony at 9:30 a.m. It will be followed by the Breakfast With Champions at the University Student Union ballroom on the campus of California State University, Long Beach. The event will feature keynote speaker Steve Alford, UCLA men’s basketball head coach and begins at 11 a.m.
The event will also recognized The Rafer Johnson Humanitarian Award Winner, which is Tom Stevens, Chairman and President of Los Angeles Capital Management and member of the Special Olympics Southern California Board of Directors.
A tradition of the Breakfast and a highlight of the annual event is the Parade of Champions. The parade opens the event and is led by Olympic Decathlon Gold Medalist Rafer Johnson. The parade includes Special Olympics athletes, U.S. Olympians and notable sports champions. They each enter the ballroom together and begin the event in championship style. This year’s list of champions include:
Tai Babilonia – figure skating, competing in pairs with partner Randy Gardner. They won the 1979 World Figure Skating Championships and five U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Qualified for 1976 and 1980 Winter Olympics.
Peter W. Carruthers – figure skating, competing with his adopted sister, Kitty, earning Silver in 1984 Winter Olympics. They were 1982 World Bronze medalists, and four-time United States National champions from 1981 to 1984.
Lisa Fernandez – softball, winning four Olympic medals, including gold in 1996 (Atlanta), 2000 (Sydney) and 2004 (Athens). A member of the UCLA Hall of Fame.
Kathy Heddy-Drum – swimming, competing in 1976 Summer Olympics. She won four medals at 1975 World Championships and four gold medals in 1975 Pan American Games.
Sherri Howard – track, competing in 1984 and 1988 Summer Olympics. Won gold in Los Angeles and silver in Seoul, both coming in the 4×400 relay. She won the 1985 NCAA Championship at UCLA, earning induction in UCLA Hall of Fame in 1992.
Jenny Johnson-Jordan – beach volleyball, competing in 2000 Summer Olympics with teammate Annett Davis. She won silver in the 1999 Beach Volleyball World Championships with Davis.
John Moffet – swimming, competed at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Calif. He had his best year in 1985, winning three gold medals at both the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships and the Summer Universiade.
John Naber – swimming, competed in 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, winning four gold medals and a silver. Helped USC to four consecutive NCAA Championships.
John Nunn – race walking, competed at the 2004, 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics. Has won six medals in national and world competitions, including gold at US National Championships in 2010 (20K). Nunn is a soldier in the United States Army and a member of its World Class Athlete Program.
Jan Palchikoff – rowing, competed in 1976 Olympics. A member of the UCLA Hall of Fame, she is a top-class cyclist owning multiple time records.
Individual tickets to the breakfast are $75, but are limited. Table sponsorships are available and are the best way to attend the breakfast and give to Special Olympics Southern California. To purchase tickets or table sponsorships for Breakfast With Champions, visit http://www.sosc.org/bwc.
All proceeds from the Rafer Johnson Breakfast With Champions benefit Special Olympics Southern California. Breakfast With Champions is the premier fundraiser at SOSC’s annual Summer Games, the largest competition of the year for Special Olympics athletes in Southern California. Summer Games features six sports: athletics (track & field), basketball, bocce, golf, gymnastics, and swimming.
About Summer Games
One June 10 and 11, the passion of sports will be on full display during the 2017 Summer Games at California State University, Long Beach. More than 1,100 athletes from across Southern California will compete for gold, silver and bronze medals and ribbons. The games feature six ports – aquatics, track & field, basketball, bocce, golf, and gymnastics. Along with six sport venues, the Game include live music, games, law enforcement and sponsor booths, Young Athletes Festival, free health screenings for athletes through Healthy Athletes and more. The Summer Games are free to the public, and everyone is encourage to come be Fans in the Stands. For more information, visit SOSC.org/SummerGames.