The 2018 Special Olympics are coming to Capitol Hill

Seattle University will be a key venue this summer as the Special Olympics come to the 12th Ave campus.

The school is slated to help host the 50th Anniversary of the Special Olympic Games. In July, more than 4,000 athletes will participate in 14 different sports throughout the Seattle region, including basketball and soccer events at Seattle U’s Championship Field and Connolly Complex.

“People probably underestimate the capabilities people with intellectual disability have –- that perceived gap really isn’t there. You will find within the intellectual disability community, there are more things alike than different,” said Jaymelina Esmele, a Special Olympics representative.


2018 Special Olympics Venues in Seattle

  • Seattle University: Basketball, Soccer
  • University of Washington: Basketball, Bocce, Flag Football
  • Seattle Pacific University: Gymnastics

Intellectual disability is the most common developmental disability and includes Fragile X
Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome,
Apert Syndrome and others.

In one of the largest sporting events in Washington with an estimated 70,000 spectators, volunteer opportunities are plenty. Event and ongoing volunteer needs include data entry, sport coaching, and family support coordinators. The Special Olympics website lists events by area for anyone who wants to get involved. Seattle has over 10,000 volunteers lined up for the games but according to executive director Jayme Powers there is still a big need for medical professionals. Volunteers who work in the medical profession and therapeutic professions such as yoga are needed to assist athletes from the sideline as part of the program’s athlete health services.


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The games are expected to positively impact Seattle’s economy by $76.4 million, Gov. Jay Inslee said in his March 23 Special Olympics Proclamation at Gasworks Park.

According to the Special Olympics, the games are a celebration of the athletic abilities
of youth and adults who live with intellectual disability. ID is a term used
to describe a person with certain limitations in cognitive functioning and
other skills, including communication and self-care. These limitations can
cause a child to develop and learn more slowly or differently.

(Image: Special Olympics USA Games)

With fewer than 100 days to go before opening day at Husky Stadium, Seattle’s
dance crew Massive Monkees, Alan Stone, and Ann Wilson are set
to perform, though additional performances will be a surprise, according to Kevin
White of event producer XPL.

During the five days of games, Seattle U will house some of the games officials, while
the University of Washington will host all athletes and coaches in student dorms.

A group of Washington police officers and Special Olympic athletes will run the Olympic torch through 30 cities from June 27 to July 1 when the opening ceremonies will be televised on ABC.

You can learn more about getting involved or buying tickets at specialolympicsusagames.org.

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