LOS ANGELES (KTLA) -- The city of Los Angeles has beaten out South Africa to host the Special Olympics Summer World Games in 2015.

The games are expected to draw over 7,000 athletes and more than half-a-million visitors to the Southland.

Olympic and Special Olympic athletes turned out for the big announcement at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Australian athletes flew all the way out from Sydney, cheering the decision to bring the Special Olympics to California.

Athletes from over 100 countries will converge on Los Angeles.

"Bringing our World Games to a city as powerful and prominent on the world stage as Los Angeles will allow our Special Olympics athletes to showcase their talents and demonstrate to the world the best in sports," Maria Shriver said.

The Special Olympics were founded by her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, back in 1968.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says Los Angeles is a city that truly appreciates that kind of diversity.

"There will be a fan-base for every athlete, from every country here in Los Angeles," Villaraigosa said.

The Special Olympics World Summer Games were last held in the United States 16 years ago, in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1999.