The 2021 Angel City Games Presented by The Hartford came in time for the holidays at Los Angeles High School instead of UCLA. Despite the change of date and venue, the Angel City Games had the same level of competition, camaraderie, and discovery as it had in previous years.
While the Games offered clinics in seven new sports including curling, Judo, and blind soccer, they also continued to offer clinics in wheelchair tennis, table tennis, and wheelchair basketball.
“We have 16 adaptive sports for people to try,” said two-time Paralympian and Angel City Sports marketing manager Mackenzie Soldan. “That’s very unusual for people to get access to trying all of these sports in one weekend.”
Soldan competed in wheelchair tennis during the London Paralympics and helped Team USA women’s wheelchair basketball team win gold in Rio. She mentioned how exciting it is to help people begin their adaptive sports journey.
“I’m really honored to be a part of an organization that’s doing so much in the community,” Soldan said. “We had over 200 athletes sign up. It’s amazing and it’s unheard of in the adaptive sports community for events to be this big and have this many new people come out.”
Along with clinics and competitions, the Angel City Games has an expo that showcased several different businesses and sponsors. Among them was 1988 Paralympian and author Leroy F. Moore Jr. who was selling his two books and a graphic novel that touch upon Black disabled history, art and hip hop. Moore also won a Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction for his contributions to the Netflix sports documentary “Rising Phoenix.”
Moore Jr. noted how his first book “Black Disabled Art History 101” is his life’s work.
“I’ve been collecting Black disabled art and music since I was a kid,” he said. “All books are for children and young adults.”
2016 Paralympian Cody Jones was selling the children’s book “Henry Makes it on Top” which he wrote during the pandemic quarantine. Ten percent of the proceeds will go to Angel City Sports.
“It’s a book about inaccessibility issues,” Jones said. “Henry uses a wheelchair and he tries to make it up a mountain, but he has to find different ways to do it because the world is not accessible.”
Damon Whittaker has been attending the Angel City Games since it began in 2015. Along with connecting with other athletes, he tried out wheelchair football and tennis but developed a fondness for air rifle shooting and archery.
“It looks like it’s actually technical and easy,” he said about archery. “But until you actually try it, then you really know what you’re actually getting into.”
This was the first Angel City Games for military veteran Tony Gray, he enjoyed the wheelchair football and judo clinics.
“Coming out of the military, we did a lot of this kind of stuff,” he said. “This kind of thing is good for people.”