The Countdown Has Begun: 2018 Special Olympics USA Games One Year Away

The one-year countdown to the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games has officially begun. One year from now – July 1-6, 2018 – more than 4,000 Special Olympics athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will gather in Seattle to compete before tens of thousands of spectators and volunteers. The 2018 USA Games will showcase the limitless talents of people with intellectual disabilities while promoting the barrier-breaking power of sport to promote inclusion and acceptance.

Among those 4,000 athletes and coaches will be Team Virginia's 46 competitors - please stay tuned for additional announcements about Team Virginia! 

“We are looking forward to rolling out the red carpet for the athletes, coaches and visitors who’ll be traveling to Seattle for the USA Games in July 2018,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. “These games will be the biggest sporting event to hit the Seattle area in more than 25 years. It is an honor to host this world-class event and model to the rest of the nation what it means to be a community that embraces the ideals of diversity, acceptance and inclusion.”

The USA Games kick off with the spectacle of the Opening Ceremony at Husky Stadium on July 1, 2018 and will offer 14 Olympic-type sports: athletics (track and field), basketball, bocce, bowling, flag football, golf, gymnastics, powerlifting, soccer, softball, stand up paddle boarding, swimming, tennis and volleyball.

Competitions will be held at venues across the Seattle area including the University of Washington, Celebration Park, Kenmore Lanes, Seattle Pacific University, Seattle University, Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center and Willows Run Golf Club.

“The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will showcase the life and society-changing power of Special Olympics,” said Marc Edenzon, president and managing director of Special Olympics North America. “There is no better way to begin Special Olympics’ 50th anniversary global celebration in July of 2018 than with this world-class event that will demonstrate to the nation how we use sport to change hearts and minds and build communities of inclusion for all.”

Fans across the country can show their spirit and support by volunteering and attending the 2018 USA Games:

  • Volunteer – More than 10,000 volunteers are needed to assist with the planning and implementation of the 2018 USA Games. Volunteer registration will begin in January 2018. For more information on volunteer opportunities and to be notified when volunteer registration opens, please visit
  • Fans in the Stands – Help fill University of Washington’s Husky Stadium for the Opening Ceremony or attend any or all of the competitions and special events, which are free and open to the public. The goal is to have a minimum of four fans cheering for every one Special Olympics athlete competing in the 2018 USA Games.

“The 2018 USA Games are on track to be an inspiring and powerful celebration for all involved. Whether you’re an athlete, volunteer, donor or spectator, the 2018 USA Games will be a life-changing experience you won’t want to miss,” said Beth Knox, president and CEO of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games. “As Special Olympics athletes train to reach their highest potential we invite the nation to ‘Rise With Us’ and join the movement to shatter perceptions surrounding people with intellectual disabilities.”

In addition to athletic competitions, the 2018 USA Games will feature music, entertainment and activities for the whole family to enjoy. Events open to the public include:

  • Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR; June 28-July 1, 2018): Law enforcement representatives from throughout the nation will carry the Special Olympics Flame of Hope across Washington state.
  • Opening Ceremony (July 1, 2018): Witness the Parade of Athletes, plus entertainment and the lighting of the Special Olympics Cauldron to open the Games.
  • Fan Zone (July 1-5, 2018): Featuring live music, exhibits and activities to entertain athletes and spectators. Location: Husky Stadium Plaza.
  • Young Athletes Festival (July 2-5, 2018): A celebration of sports, activities and inclusion for athletes with and without intellectual disabilities aged 2 to 7. Locations: Seattle Center, Celebration Park and University of Washington.
  • Unified Sports Experience (July 2-5, 2018): Exhibition games featuring celebrity USA Games Ambassadors as well as athletes with and without intellectual disabilities will demonstrate how sports can promote inclusion. Location: University of Washington.
  • Closing Ceremony (July 6, 2018): The finale and celebration of the 2018 USA Games. Location: South Lake Union Park.

About the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games

The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will be held in Seattle, Washington July 1-6, 2018. More than 4,000 athletes and coaches representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, along with the support of tens of thousands of volunteers and spectators, will compete in 14 Olympic-type team and individual sports. The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will celebrate the Special Olympics movement and its 50th anniversary; promote the ideals of acceptance and inclusion through sport; and showcase athletes from throughout the U.S. and the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities. The 2018 USA Games will also highlight Special Olympics’ work in sport, education, health and community-building.