The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, which were held in Seattle from July 1-6, was the largest Special Olympics USA Games to ever take place. About 101,500 fans cheered on 4,000 athletes and coaches over the course of the week; meanwhile, more than 15,000 volunteers helped to make the event a success.
This week was special for another reason, too: 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Special Olympics movement, which aims to promote the idea of “inclusion through sports” and to encourage everyone to support and respect people with intellectual disabilities.
Beth Knox, President and CEO of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, was proud of the degree to which this goal was realized in Seattle this year.
“These USA Games set a lot of records,” she said. “Some were for attendance, some were on the playing field, but what I’ll remember most were the countless smiles, hugs and high fives. Now that the country has accepted the challenge to ‘Rise with Us,’ I can’t wait to see how Greater Seattle and other communities ride the momentum from the Games and continue to live out the ideals of inclusion.”
Seattle’s commitment to inclusion looks like it will pay off: The 2018 Games created 10,200 temporary jobs and are expected to make an impact of more than $76.4 million on the city’s economy.
Chairman of Special Olympics International Timothy P. Shriver called the week “a stunning success,” and thanked Seattle for years of hard work to make the Games possible.