Port of Seattle, King County Metro and Sound Transit Announce Support for 2018 Special Olympics USA Games

With Kick Off to 2018 USA Games Less than 60 Days Away, Public Agencies Gear Up to Support Special Olympics Athletes, Coaches, Families and Fans

SEATTLEMay 9, 2018 – At a press conference held today at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games announced partnerships with the Port of Seattle, King County Metro and Sound Transit. From event operations assistance to providing public transportation options that promote the 2018 USA Games’ sustainability initiatives, the public agencies have pledged unprecedented support for the 2018 USA Games and the tens of thousands of athletes, coaches, family members and fans expected to visit Seattle in July.

“Athletes, coaches and fans from across the nation will gather in Seattle for the 2018 USA Games, and for many, this will be their first visit to our region. We couldn’t ask for a better welcoming committee than our partners at the Port of Seattle, King County Metro and Sound Transit,” said Beth Knox, president and CEO of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games. “Their assistance will contribute to enhancing the USA Games experience and to making a lasting positive impression of the Greater Seattle area.”

As an Official Sponsor of Welcome Day Presented by United Airlines, the Port of Seattle is providing valuable logistical support and personnel for the 2018 USA Games. From the moment athletes, coaches and visitors arrive, to the day they depart, Sea-Tac Airport and Port employees will roll out the red carpet. The Port’s support for the 2018 USA Games includes:

  • Sea-Tac Airport will serve as the operations hub for the USA Games team overseeing the arrivals and departures of thousands of delegates.
  • To easily and seamlessly move delegates and their baggage, the Port will provide space for staging trucks and busses.
  • Port employee volunteers will welcome and assist the delegates at Sea-Tac Airport on June 29 and 30, provide support during bocce competitions at the University of Washington and assist delegates as they depart on July 7.
  • Port Police will join other law enforcement agencies to assist with the Opening Ceremony at Husky Stadium on July 1.
  • The Port will provide marketing and branding support throughout Sea-Tac Airport including co-branded signage in airport terminals, baggage claim carousel screens and backlit dioramas.
  • USA Games information booths will be staged throughout the baggage claim area.

“More than a year ago the Port started working with the Special Olympics USA Games team on a world-class plan to support 10,000 athletes, family members and coaches who will fly through Sea-Tac to the USA Games,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Courtney Gregoire. “This is a great moment for our region and for participating athletes and their families. We are thrilled to join other public agencies in making USA Games participants feel welcomed and celebrated.” 

To ensure athletes and their families can travel throughout the Greater Seattle area in a flexible, affordable and sustainable way, King County Metro and Sound Transit have signed on as Official Transportation Partners of the 2018 USA Games. Together, King County Metro and Sound Transit will provide a total of 4,000 pre-paid ORCA Passport cards, which will enable athletes and their families to travel by bus, water taxi, and light rail throughout King County, including to and from Sea-Tac Airport and between USA Games venues.

In addition, to recognize this monumental sporting event King County Metro and Sound Transit will create a commemorative co-branded ORCA Passport card exclusively for the 2018 USA Games.

“We’re honored to do our part for the Games, and invite the athletes, families and volunteers to ride and enjoy our frequent and reliable transit services,” said King County Metro General Manager Rob Gannon. “We’re inspired by both the competitive spirit and sense of community the Games are bringing here, and hope everyone enjoys our region’s unique sights and wonderful culture during their stay.”

“Sound Transit is very excited to be a part of this year’s Special Olympics USA Games,” said Jackie Martinez-Vasquez, Director of the Office of EEO, Equity and Inclusion at Sound Transit. “As we undertake the most ambitious transit expansion program in the nation, we are committed to providing accessibility to people of all backgrounds and walks of life whether they are riding a bus, light rail train or commuter train.”

The press kit for this morning’s press conference can be downloaded from Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/sldigko961jviy5/AAD6EZmxPBH3Ip1uLEcOnoIKa?dl=0

About the Port of Seattle

Founded in 1911, The Port owns and operates Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, two cruise ship terminals, Fishermen’s Terminal—home of the North Pacific fishing fleet, one grain terminal, a public cargo terminal, four public marinas, and manages a number of real estate assets for financial return and economic advantage. The port’s operations currently help create nearly 200,000 jobs and $7 billion in wages throughout the region. Over the next 20 years, the port’s “Century Agenda” seeks to create an additional 100,000 jobs through economic growth while becoming the nation’s leading green and energy-efficient port. Learn more at www.portseattle.org.

About King County Metro

King County Metro carries more than 122 million riders each year, serving the Puget Sound region with RapidRide, local and express bus service, vanpools and innovative mobility options. For the last two years, the Seattle-area has led the nation in ridership growth as demand increases for Metro service. Nearly 5,000 employees – transit operators, mechanics, planners and customer services – connect people to opportunity, support our regional economy, and help us make progress toward our region’s climate goals.

About Sound Transit

Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for the Central Puget Sound. The agency is advancing the largest transit expansion program in the nation, with simultaneous light rail extensions to the north, south, east and west to complete a 116-mile regional system. New bus rapid transit services and expanded commuter rail services will also provide alternatives to rising congestion, protecting and enhancing the region’s economy and environment in the face of rapid population growth. More information at www.soundtransit.org.

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 participants 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. For more information, please visit www.SpecialOlympicsUSAGames.org.  

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Media Contacts

Jaymelina Esmele, 2018 Special Olympics USA Games


(206) 788-8964

Perry Cooper, Port of Seattle


(206) 787-4923

Jeff Switzer, King County Metro


(206) 477-3833

Scott Thompson, Sound Transit


(206) 903-7838