Special Olympics World Games Recap

by Beth Knox - President and CEO, 2018 USA Games | April 11, 2017

When the opportunity came for me to serve at the helm of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, I immediately understood the significance an event of this magnitude represented to the Puget Sound Region, and was incredibly honored to lead the efforts. Over the past year and a half, we have built a talented team, secured valuable partners, raised critical funds and worked on plans for a truly spectacular event in July of 2018.

Recently, I traveled to Austria for the 2017 Special Olympics Winter World Games, and had the chance to see first-hand the thrill and excitement of athlete competition. What an incredible experience! The air crackled with anticipation as 6,500 athletes from around the world came together to represent their countries and compete against peers in hopes of bringing home a medal.

As I stood in the bleachers of Opening Ceremony, staring at the dark slope behind the stage, my breath caught as skiers outlined in lights gracefully undulated down the mountain to start the show. Then, to a celebration of world music, lights and cheering fans, the athletes paraded into the stadium, country by country. We were caught up first in the spectacle, and then, the significance of the moment as the Special Olympics flag was raised, flame of hope lit, and the Games pronounced open.

Everywhere, families, fans and visitors were on hand to cheer athletes and teams as they competed in various sports. Impromptu dances broke out in town square, friendships were made, volunteers were present at every turn, and our confidence in humanity was reignited.

Now back home, I am even more excited to bring the USA Games to Seattle. Over the next eight months, athletes from across the United States will be training daily in hopes of qualifying for the U.S. national games. Celebrity Games Ambassadors such as Apolo Ohno, Marshawn Lynch, Steve Largent, Roger Levesque, Breanna Stewart, Gary Payton and dozens more are preparing to cheer them on before joining the parade of athletes at our own Opening Ceremony on July 1, 2018. Mark your calendars now. You won’t want to miss this.