History of Special Olympics

Special Olympics USA Games and Special Olympics Washington

In 2014, Special Olympics Washington submitted a bid to host the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games. After a competitive selection process by Special Olympics North America, in May 2015 Washington was awarded the bid to host the USA Games.

Starting with the articles of incorporation, the creation of a Board of Directors for the USA Games and the hiring of Beth Knox as President and CEO, the Games Organizing Committee began to take shape. As an independent non-profit entity, the Games Organizing Committee exists solely to develop and execute the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games and will raise all the funds necessary to host this national competition. Special Olympics Washington serves as the host state and will be represented by more than 300 athletes at the Games, the largest delegation among state Programs. The impact of the USA Games in Washington will not end with the conclusion of the Closing Ceremony.

As a result of the heightened awareness for Special Olympics, the lasting legacy for Special Olympics Washington will be an increase in athletes, volunteers and corporate sponsors as well as the addition of seven new sports and a fourth season of intrastate competition with the fall games. Learn more about Special Olympics Washington here.

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Special Olympics International

Special Olympics is a global movement that transforms lives through the power and joy of sports, every day around the world. Special Olympics empowers people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance.

Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 5.7 million athletes and Unified partners in 172 countries. With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and over 108,000 games and competitions throughout the year.  In the United States, over 700 thousand athletes and Unified partners from 52 state Programs participate in sports offered at the national, regional, state, local and area levels. From Traditional (athletes with intellectual disabilities) to Unified Sports (athletes with and without disabilities competing together), Special Olympics offers activities every day of every year for people to get involved locally to globally.

For more information about Special Olympics International, click here.

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