Special Olympics Athletes Left Stranded At LAX

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles' hosting of the Special Olympics World Games was off to a rocky start today, with hundreds of athletes and coaches being forced to sleep on a gym floor at Loyola Marymount University due to transportation delays.

RELATED: All of FOX 11's coverage of the Special Olympics World Games can be found here.

Special Olympics officials said about 1,500 athletes and coaches who arrived at Los Angeles International Airport Tuesday arrived late, leading to backups at the check-in center at LMU in Westchester. By the end of the night, buses weren't available to carry the delegations to their respective host cities.

Athletes and coaches from Norway, Mexico and England were among those left stranded at LMU. Some said there wasn't enough food available for the people who were stuck at the university, and the Red Cross was brought in to help out.

Perelman told the station breakfast was brought in for the delegations this morning, and the athletes and coaches were being processed and bused to their host cities.

Opening ceremonies for the World Games are scheduled for Saturday at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

An estimated 6,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities and 2,000 coaches -- representing 165 countries -- will be taking part in the event, which is the largest sporting event the Southland has hosted since the 1984 Olympic Games. The trouble started at LAX when teams were stranded for hours waiting for those buses. Teams from the Philippines, Spain, Peru and Germany were just some of those sleeping on the floor or on luggage at LAX before being shuttled to Loyola for check-in.

The Red Cross brought in 1,200 blankets, 3,000 bottles of water and snacks to help the athletes as they started their adventure in Los Angeles.

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