We're gearing up for this weekend's Special Olympics Opening Ceremony and ESPN Music had the chance to interview "Reach Up" recording artists, O.A.R.'s Marc Roberge, Cody Simpson, Breanna Bogucki, a singer and decorated Special Olympics athlete with Autism, and Madison Tevlin, a singer with Down Syndrome who became a viral sensation earlier this year.
This Saturday, July 25th, Los Angeles will welcome thousands of dedicated athletes from around the world to the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games. These incredible athletes continue to break down barriers and are the essence of what it truly means to inspire others. On June 15th, O.A.R. and Cody Simpson, accompanied by Breanna Bogucki and Madison Tevlin, teamed up with Coca-Cola and Special Olympics to release "Reach Up". The uplifting, anthemic song embodies the values of optimism, acceptance and inclusion.
When O.A.R. frontman, Marc Roberge, first got the call from Coca-Cola and Special Olympics to record a song that represented and expressed achievement, he told ESPN Music "it was an easy decision to make" saying he "thought it was an amazing idea right away". O.A.R. fans may recognize "Reach Up", as it is a re-worked version of the band's 2014 release "Two Hands Up". Roberge described the song as "a perfect fit". Roberge went on to tell ESPN Music how a few weeks earlier, he had dinner with Cody Simpson in NYC to talk about music and how he got Cody involved in the project.
"I got the phone call from Coke and said what about Cody Simpson! Cody's message right now is always what O.A.R. is trying to put out: positive music and putting a good spin on life and making people happy."
This is the first time Cody Simpson has had the opportunity to be involved with Special Olympics. "It's cool. I never thought I'd be able to and when this came about, I jumped right on it" said the 18 year-old Australian singer.
"I'm looking forward to performing. It's an event that brings so much hope to people and to see so many different kinds of people succeed and be passionate about something and to feel a part of something... for that to be brought together by music is cool." Cody told ESPN Music "when it comes to people with disabilities versus abilities it was amazing to get to know Bree and Madison and realize that we're all the same and we're all here to do good things for people...to have this sort of collaborative effort, we all brought our differences to the table and we worked together to bring joy to people. That's what it's all about."
The two described Bree and Madison as positive, brave and inspiring.
Illinois native, Breanna Bogucki, has yet to let her Austism keep her from pursuing her dreams. Bree has been singing since she was 9 years old, participating in local talent competitions. She loves performing, as well as, competing in track and cross country for her high school and softball, gymnastics, basketball and volleyball through Special Olympics. She told ESPN Music "I was shocked", when she found out she was going to record with Cody Simpson and Marc Roberge, "I didn't expect this to happen!"
"In the Special Olympics they accept everyone and I'm glad I can do a sport I like without being judged." Bree continued "As I grow older, I want to inspire people. I want to make a difference in the world and make people happy. I want to inspire people to be like if she can do it, I can do it."
12 year-old, Madison Tevlin from Canada, has more YouTube views than most aspiring singers. She continues to defy the odds and never lets her Down Syndrome define her. Madison told ESPN Music "It was a really cool experience for me to record with Bree, Cody and Marc. When I met Cody and Marc, I was really nervous at first but at the end I felt like we were really close. Bree is amazing!" Marc and Cody told us that Madison and Bree were inseparable throughout the whole experience.
The foursome will be performing "Reach Up" at the World Games. ESPN is the official broadcaster of the World Games and will live telecast the Opening Ceremony beginning at 9 p.m. ET featuring Robin Roberts, co-host of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” and ESPN’s Lindsay Czarniak and Kevin Negandhi. Fans can support Special Olympics by sharing the “Reach Up” music video on social media using the hashtag #ReachUp. Coca-Cola will donate one dollar – up to $100,000 – to Special Olympics for every “Reach Up” video share using the hashtag leading up to the World Games.
For more information about Special Olympics and how to get involved visit: www.specialolympics.org
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