Wonder, Lavigne to open Special Olympics

Stevie Wonder, Cody Simpson and Avril Lavigne are some of the stars who will perform during next month’s opening ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games, organizers announced Thursday.

The July 25 ceremony will also feature appearances by actress Eva Longoria, comedian/talk show host Jimmy Kimmel and athletes Yao Ming and Michael Phelps, in a show created by the production company that crafted the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in London and Sochi.

Lavigne, who recently revealed she’s been ill with Lyme Disease, is planning to perform her song Fly publicly for the first time at the ceremony, which will be held at theLos Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Lavigne said on Twitter Wednesday that proceeds of sales of Fly will benefit the Special Olympics.

The ceremony, to be broadcast on ESPN, will also feature performances by Colombian reggaeton artist J. Balvin and former Pussycat Dolls frontwoman Nicole Scherzinger.


Stevie Wonder in Los Angeles in February 2015. (Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Simpson, an Australian pop singer, plus the band O.A.R. and two Special Olympics athletes will perform the games’ anthem, Reach Up LA, according to a news release announcing the lineup. It will include elements familiar to other Olympic opening ceremonies, such as a parade of athletes and torch-lighting ceremony.

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