More than 7,600 Gather at Lake Union Park for USA Games Closing Ceremony

By Ben Lennon

JULY 8, 2018

A week of fierce competition, hard-earned victories and relentless effort ended Friday night at the 2018 USA Games Closing Ceremony at Lake Union Park. As the sun set on a warm Seattle summer night, it was hard to imagine a more perfect setting to celebrate the triumphs of the week.

More than 7,600 athletes, coaches and fans gathered to mingle, cheer and reflect on all that had transpired. Soaking in the sunshine, teams swapped pins, t-shirts and selfies in a festive atmosphere, aided by a roaming, rocking brass band and an entertaining circus troupe.

The ceremony highlighted several athletes, including John Mullins and Dennis Gaines, a Unified golf duo from Kentucky. Dennis told the story of reaching the seventh hole this week and asking for John’s advice. John said, simply, “hit it in the hole” – which Dennis followed by hitting his first ever hole-in-one.

Music played a big role in the ceremony with performances by the Amazon Symphony Orchestra and Seattle band Hey Marseilles.

As Team Washington lowered the Special Olympics flag at the end of the night and passed it on to Florida, host of the 2022 USA Games, it was clear that the bravery and determination seen over the past week wasn’t going anywhere. Indeed, as the athletes roared in celebration, one could tell that they were already getting excited for their next opportunity to go out and compete.