The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will be held in Seattle, July 1 - 6, 2018. Approximately 4,000 Special Olympics athletes and their coaches from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will descend on state-of the-art venues throughout the city to showcase their athletic abilities. Athletes have the opportunity to compete in one of 14 sports. There will be over 10,000 volunteers on hand from all walks of life, who will give the gift of their time to support the games in a wide variety of ways as they cheer the athletes on.
Northern California is proud to have 54 athletes participating in the Games in 8 sports. The athletes selected were gold medalists who competed at the highest level of their respective sport and were drawn at random until all the allotted slots were filled. These dedicated athletes will continue training so they are prepared to compete among the best in the nation.
The Alaska Airlines Arena, University of Washington
Taking place in one of the oldest on-campus buildings in America, the Arena, which was resurfaced and repainted in 2017, is located inside the Clarence S. "Hec" Edmundson Pavilion.
Dempsey Indoor Center, University of Washington
The Center was built in 2001 primarily as an indoor facility for the University of Washington Football team. It has became a popular venue among many sports, including baseball, softball and soccer.
The facility boasts that it is the largest bowling center North of Reno and West of the Mississippi. There are 50 lanes available which will give our athletes plenty of opportunity to shine.
Willows Run Golf Club
The complex is a full-service facility, complete with two 18-hole golf courses, putting green and driving range. The Club was the site of the 2017 Special Olympics North America Golf Championship.
Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center
The Center hosted the 1990 Seattle Goodwill Games. It has been the site of Olympic Trials, top national and international competitions and the Pacific Northwest's premier events.
Nordstrom Tennis Center, University of Washington
The Tennis Center is considered one of the Northwest's most modern indoor tennis facilities with 6 courts. The upstairs viewing area provides seating for 278 spectators.
Track & Field
Huskey Track, The University of Washington
The purple track is one of the newest track & field venues in America and hosted the 2016 PAC-12 Track & Field Championships.
Championship Field, Seattle University
Championship Field has a natural grass playing surface which stays in pristine playing condition all year round. It has permanent seating for up to 650 spectators with the ability to add temporary seating when needed.
An important part of the USA Games is the running of the Special Olympics Torch, the "Flame of Hope," prior to the start of the competitions. The Flame of Hope will be escorted by Law Enforcement representatives from every state and the District of Columbia. The dedicated Law Enforcement Personnel will come together and run the Flame of Hope through communities, ending at the Opening Ceremony of the Games where it will light the caldron, signaling the opening of the Games.
Northern California's Law Enforcement Volunteer of the Year, Therese Giannelli, from the California State Prison - Sacramento, will have the honor of representing Northern California and escort the Flame of Hope on its journey to the USA Games. Therese is a loyal volunteer for Special Olympics Northern California, helping to raise thousands of dollars for our our athletes as well as volunteering her time to promote our program.
The week's festivities begin with Opening Ceremony on Friday, July 1 at Huskey Stadium. Opening Ceremony is an evening of excitement and pageantry for our athletes, and the coaches, families and volunteers who will come out to cheer them on.
The ceremony will begin with the traditional parade of athletes, when 4,000 athletes and their coaches proudly march into the stadium through the "Wall of Honor" consisting of Law Enforcement Personnel who are there to honor them. Athletes and spectators alike will enjoy entertainment and other festivities, followed by the dramatic lighting of the caldron signaling the Opening of the Games.
In order for athletes to perform at their best, both on and off the playing field, Special Olympics believes promoting a healthy life style to our athletes is critical to their success. The Healthy Athletes program is dedicated to providing health services and education to Special Olympics athletes and changing the way health systems interact wth people with intellectual disabilities. At the Games, volunteer health professionals will provide free health screenings and education sessions for athletes. The disciplines that will be provided are Fit Feet, FUNFitness, Healthy Hearing, Health Promotion, Opening Eyes, Special Smiles and Strong Minds.
It will take a cast of thousands to run the Games to ensure a top quality competition experience for the athletes. From sports competition and special event assistance, to emergency management and behind-the-scenes operations/logistics support, volunteers of every skill and experience level will be essential to the success of the USA Games. If you have a few hours to spare or a few days and want be a part of an experience you will never forget, consider volunteering