June 30 – July 6, 2018

Seattle is excited to host the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games and the University of Washington is proud to serve as a primary venue.

From July 1-6, more than 4,000 athletes and coaches from all 50 states will visit Seattle and the surrounding region to participate in the Games.

The UW campus will be the site for the opening ceremony, athletic competitions, presentations, entertainment and more. UW residence halls will house thousands of athletes and coaches during the games.

Special Olympics USA Games Schedule

June 29-30 Athletes and coaches move into UW
July 1 Opening ceremony at Husky Stadium
July 1-6 Sporting events at UW and additional local venues
July 6 Closing ceremony at Lake Union Park
July 7 Athletes and coaches depart UW

Full schedule

Get Involved

The University of Washington will serve as the primary venue for the USA Games and all faculty, staff, students, family and friends are encouraged to attend. You can show your support by joining as a “Fan in the Stands,” volunteering or participating in a variety of exciting events and activities on the Seattle campus, beginning June 27.  

The Young Athletes Festival, the Fan Zone, the Closing Ceremony and all of the sports competitions are free and open to the public. Tickets are required for the Opening Ceremony and are $20-$65.

Remember to request vacation time off if you volunteer or attend during work hours.

Parking and Traffic Impacts

Since the USA Games are occurring in the summer, the impact should be minimal. The Opening Ceremony on Sunday, July 1 is expected to be the most significantly attended event, but will be limited to 24,000 people, similar to Commencement. As with any major event, the campus will receive advance notice and special instructions as needed. Messages to faculty, staff and students as well as specific parking permit holders will be shared as the USA Games approach.
For the competition events on east campus, Special Olympics anticipates 5,000 spectators each day across all of the competition venues.

About the USA Games

Fourteen sports will be offered including swimming, flag football, basketball, golf, gymnastics, tennis, powerlifting and soccer. More than 10,000 volunteers will support the USA Games with 70,000 spectators expected to attend.

In addition to showcasing the inspiring abilities of thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities, the USA Games will model the ideals of inclusion and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics movement.

The UW has a long history of researching intellectual disabilities, and of serving members of the community with Down Syndrome, autism, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and rarer conditions.

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Special Olympics Games, which were held at Soldier’s Field in Chicago in July 1968. In 2018 athletes from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will showcase their abilities and boldly demonstrate the power, joy and fellowship of the Special Olympics movement.

Other local venues co-hosting the 2018 USA Games include Seattle Center, Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, King County Aquatic Center, Willows Run Golf Club, Celebration Park and Kenmore Lanes.