The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, 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.
In support of Special Olympics athletes everywhere, The Coca-Cola Co. 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, the company says.
Since its premiere in mid-June, the music video for “Reach Up” has garnered more than 1 million views, the company says. When it was released, Coca-Cola pledged to donate $1, up to $100,000, to Special Olympics for every music video share using the hashtag #ReachUp.
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 July 25. The performance will air on ESPN as part of a three-hour live telecast of the opening ceremony. The program also will feature “Good Morning America” co-host Robin Roberts and ESPN’s Lindsay Czarniak and Kevin Negandhi.
“The Coca-Cola Co. 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 Co., in a statement. “For more than 47 years, The Coca-Cola Co. 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.”
O.A.R.’s Roberge added: “When Coke approached us to do the song, I really had no idea how big this could be. 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.
“I think it’s fair to say there would be no ‘Reach Up’ without Bree and Maddy,” he continued. “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, it says. 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. Additionally, a commemorative 8-ounce glass bottle, outdoor advertising and retail promotions will enable consumers to support Special Olympics by volunteering or donating to the event.