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Seattle to Host 2018 USA Games; Most Significant Sporting Event to Come to Seattle since 1990 Goodwill Games

Special Olympics announced today that Seattle, Washington has been selected to host the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, the national games for Special Olympics in the United States. The announcement was made at a press conference at Husky Stadium at the University of Washington.

A Showcase of the Abilities of Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities

From left: Microsoft President and Games Honorary Board Chair Brad Smith; Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee; 2018 Special Olympics USA Games CEO Beth Knox; Special Olympics athlete Stacey Johnston; Special Olympics North America President Marc Edenzon.

The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will take place July 1-6, 2018. 3,500 Special Olympics athletes from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, 1,000 coaches, 10,000 family members, 10,000 volunteers and an estimated 50,000 spectators will take part in this premier national sports competition, showcasing the power and joy of sports at the highest levels.

On hand to make the announcement and share the impact of hosting one of the largest national amateur sporting events in 2018 were Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Microsoft President and 2018 USA Games Honorary Chair Brad Smith, 2018 USA Games CEO Beth Knox, Special Olympics North America President Marc Edenzon, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Deputy Mayor Kate Joncas, Athlete Stacey Johnston, USA Games sponsors and Board of Directors, and local Special Olympics Washington athletes.

“The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will showcase the abilities of athletes with intellectual disabilities, promote the ideals of acceptance and inclusion through sport, and celebrate the transformative power of Special Olympics,” said 2018 Special Olympics USA Games CEO Beth Knox, adding “These Games are expected to be the most significant sporting event to come to Seattle since the 1990 Goodwill Games and in addition to hosting a world-class sporting event, we hope to leave a legacy of increased awareness and support for Special Olympics here in Washington long after the Games are over.”

A 50th Anniversary Highlight

Competition in 16 Olympic-type individual and team sports, as well as special events, will be hosted at venues throughout Seattle and the King County area, including Husky Stadium at the University of Washington, which will serve as the venue for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

In addition to sports competition, special events, celebrity involvement, and the pageantry of Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the 2018 USA Games will also showcase Special Olympics’ work in promoting health, programming in schools, inclusive community-building, and more.

The USA Games will be a highlight of Special Olympics’ global 50th Anniversary celebration in 2018. Seattle’s selection as host site was based on many factors including the potential for large corporate and community support; being a major media market; the quality and capacity of athletic, special event and housing venues; ability to meet a Games’ infrastructural and volunteer needs; and a commitment to promoting the values and mission of Special Olympics.

The 2018 USA Games will bring athletes, families, and 10,000 fans from across the United States to the area, and based on prior Special Olympics USA Games, event organizers project that the USA Games could generate an economic impact of approximately $50 million for the Seattle area.

“We look forward to welcoming 3,500 athletes, their families, friends and supporters to Washington state in 2018,” Washington Governor Jay Inslee said. “The skills, courage and determination of these athletes is inspiring. Washington will model the spirit of Special Olympics - to be more aware and more inclusive. What a wonderful legacy these Games will leave behind.”

“Hosting the Special Olympics USA Games is about making a societal impact – not just locally, but throughout the United States,” said Dr. Timothy P. Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics and son of Special Olympics Founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver. “As a city that celebrates and embraces diversity, Seattle stands uniquely positioned to model for other communities how Special Olympics can be a catalyzing force for creating communities of increased acceptance, meaningful inclusion and respect. That’s the legacy we want these Games to leave: changed hearts and minds that open the doors to opportunity for people with intellectual disability.”

2018 USA Games Press Kit

The press kit contains background information, graphic guidance and other helpful information. Get the kit


Press may contact Jaymelina Esmele: 

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Premier and Legacy Partners

The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games are proud to announce Microsoft as the Premier Partner of the USA Games and the following companies as Legacy Partners: Bank of America, Special Olympics Founding Partner The Coca Cola Company, KPMG LLP, and Starbucks Coffee Company. Also supporting the USA Games are Perkins Coie, Publicis Seattle, Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce, Special Olympics Washington, Visit Seattle and the Washington Athletic Club.

The USA Games provide corporate partners and individual donors an opportunity to invest in a world-class event, and allow employees and the community to embrace Special Olympics - creating a more inclusive Seattle and nation. Participation in the 2018 USA Games is provided at no charge to the athletes. All expenses will be covered by an estimated $15 million raised by the Games Organizing Committee. Competitions are free to attend and open to the public.

Publicis Seattle, an integrated marketing communications agency, was tapped to create the visual identity and branding for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games. The brand identity for the USA Games was revealed at today’s announcement event along with the USA Games tagline “Rise with Us,” a challenge from the Games to the nation to truly live and play unified.

The Special Olympics USA Games are held every four years. Previous Games were held in Mercer County, New Jersey in 2014, Lincoln, Nebraska in 2010 and Ames, Iowa in 2006.

For more information on the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, please visit www.specialolympicsusagames.org and follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsUSAGames; Twitter at https://twitter.com/2018USAGames; Instagram at https://instagram.com/SpecialOlympicsUSAGames; and YouTube at www.youtube.com/specialolympicsusagames 

About Special Olympics

Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world, empowering people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to nearly 5 million athletes in 170 countries. Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and nearly 100,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Engage: Twitter@specialolympics, fb.com/specialolympics, youtube.com/specialolympicshq.