As the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics have officially come to a close, local Seattle fans of the Olympic Games can rejoice because the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games are in four short months. They can attend, volunteer and even participate in some activities because it will be hosted in part by Seattle University.
Special Olympics Washington is a non-pro t organization dedicated to changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. They submitted the bid for Washington to host the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in 2014. A year later, in May 2015, Washington was selected and seven other venues—including Seattle U—were chosen to help host.
From July 1 to 6, over 3,000 athletes will be in the greater Seattle area competing in 14 sporting events at eight different venues. eUniversity of Washington will host the opening ceremony and a majority of the sporting events such as basketball, bocce, powerlifting and volleyball. Seattle U will be hosting the soccer competitions at Seattle U Park and Championship Field, and some of the basketball competitions will take place in Connolly. There will be an awards ceremony on July 5 and 6 in Pigott Auditorium.
Seattle University’s Women’s Soccer team has a positive relationship with Special Olympics Washington from helping support past uni ed sporting events.
“When there was an opportunity for us to support the national games we were very excited,” Rebekah Ray, assistant athletic director for facilities and event management at Seattle U and the facilities liaison for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, said in an email statement.
Seattle U will be housing 400 of the Special Olympics’ officials, staff and volunteers. The Seattle U athletics staff will be helping out during the games. Julie Woodward, the women’s soccer head coach, and Pete Fewing, the men’s soccer head coach, will be acting as ambassadors for the event. Adam Reeb, the tennis head coach, Rich Schreiner, the women’s soccer associate head coach and Eliot Mar, the women’s basketball director of operations, will be serving as sport commissioners.
The 2018 USA Games are expected to bring approximately 50,000 fans to Seattle. The Opening Ceremony will take place July 1 at Husky Stadium at 12:00 p.m. Everyone is invited to watch the Parade of Athletes, live entertainment and the lighting of the Special Olympics Cauldron.
During the week of competition— beginning at 9:00 a.m. every day— The Husky Stadium North Plaza will be a hub for live music, exhibits and activities to entertain both athletes and spectators. The Closing Ceremony at Lake Union Park on July 6 at 7:00 p.m. will honor participants with a night of live entertainment.
The Young Athletes Festival is an opportunity for kids of all abilities aged two to seven-years- old to participate in the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games with friendly competition in basic sports such as running, kicking and throwing. On July 2 and 3, the Young Athletes Event will be held at Seattle Center and will take place on July 5 at the University of Washington from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each day.
The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games is a great place to volunteer. The Games Organizing Committee is building a team of 10,000 volunteers to assist with sports competitions and special events for fans and athletes and help with emergency management and behind-the-scenes operations. Volunteers should be 14 years of age or older, but they have plenty of jobs available for volunteers of all ages. Volunteers have the chance to work side-by-side with the athletes or even be a part of the Opening Ceremony Cheer Line.
“The 2018 USA Games will show not only the country, but the world, that Seattle is a model for a city of inclusion,” Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer of Microsoft and the 2018 USA Games Honorary Board Chair, said in a statement.
Smith’s statement about inclusivity is in reference to Seattle using this opportunity to make itself even more inclusive with a community of businesses, organizations and everyday people who are dedicated to showing those with disabilities that they are welcome and valued.
This initiative will further define Seattle as a city full of love and support for those who feel left out and forgotten. It will give large and small businesses a chance to show visitors the city’s commitment to accepting others with their movement #ImAGameChanger. Game changers are individuals or businesses who perform acts of inclusion and help “change the game” for people with disabilities.
The games are seeking to honor athletes with disabilities and all unacknowledged heroes, whether they be persons or companies who help foster inclusive communities. This movement helps show the world that Seattle is continually breaking barriers and making a difference.
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