News And Politics

LA Coliseum to kick off Olympics with torch walk, health fair

March 21, 2012, 10:29 a.m.

(CREDIT: Flickr via U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers Los Angeles District)

L.A.'s Memorial Coliseum and the L.A. Expo Center is hosting the "Walk to London 2012"; a combination health fair and Olympics promotion in celebration of World Health Day on Sat. April 7.

The day is sponsored by USC and UCLA, who are apparently putting their cross-town rivalry aside for a day of games, music and "healthy food trucks." These universities along with the Western University of Health Sciences, have been putting on this celebration for the past few years. Each year has a particular theme -- this year's (appropriately enough) is "Go for the Gold."

Organizers say the day is intended to, "harness the excitement the Olympics inspires to highlight fitness and health in LA. "

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the soccer fields of the Expo Center, the public can get free health screenings for cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and HIV, as well as receiving free dental care and overall health education. There will be "internationally-themed" entertainment and Olympics-style games for kids, led by USC athletes and local businesses.

At 12:15, the torch walk around the Coliseum is kicked off with a performance by the Trojan Marching Band. After the Olympians and the public complete their lap, the athletes will present medals to the participating kids.

The Coliseum holds a special significance, said Larissa Puro of USC, because it was the actual site of previous Olympics games. Fun fact: The Coliseum is the only stadium to host two different Olympics games -- once in 1932 and then again in 1984.

The national Olympic walk will also begin in Hawaii the same day, and from there will progress to Northern California, Oregon, Washington and snake across the county until it ends in Washington D.C. on June 23.

April 7 is deemed World Health Day to honor the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948. Each year WHO chooses a global topic to focus on for the annual event -- this year, it's "Aging and health: Good health adds life to years."

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