Madison, Wis. (PRESS RELEASE) – 100 days from today, 49 Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes and five Unified partners will begin their competition at the 2018 USA Games in Seattle, Washington.
From July 1-6, Team Wisconsin will be competing in basketball, bocce, bowling, swimming, track & field and Unified soccer events at the premier national sports competition for Special Olympics programs in the United States, which takes place every four years. Team Wisconsin will be joined by 3,500 athletes from every state in the United States and the District of Columbia in the week-long display of elite athleticism by Special Olympics athletes in 14 Olympic-style sports.
The 2018 Team Wisconsin is truly representative of the Badger State. 27 Special Olympics agencies from across Wisconsin will be represented and each of Special Olympics Wisconsin’s seven regions is represented. The athletes and Unified partners have been training hard since they learned they made the team last fall, and they are now ready to make their final pushes toward competition readiness.
“Team Wisconsin athletes have been training hard and the 100-day countdown raises the bar on the excitement and anticipation for the USA Games to begin,” said Don Wigington, Special Olympics Wisconsin’s Vice President of Sports & Health Programs. “This event only happens every four years so it means a lot to the athletes and everybody involved in Special Olympics Wisconsin. The 2018 USA Games is particularly exciting because it’s happening as Special Olympics celebrates its 50th anniversary.”
The 2018 USA Games are expected to also include 10,000 volunteers and 70,000 spectators at some of the premier athletic venues across Greater Seattle, including the University of Washington, Seattle University and Seattle Pacific University.
The participating athletes will also be recognized in a Parade of Athletes during the Opening Ceremony that takes place July 1 in the University of Washington’s famous Husky Stadium. The Opening Ceremony will also include live entertainment from renowned music acts and a 2,018-member choir. The Opening Ceremony will also serve as the backdrop for the lighting of the Special Olympics Flame of Hope, which for 50 years has symbolized respect, inclusion and the enduring goal of Special Olympics to highlight the talents and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities.
In the days leading up to the Opening Ceremony, a select group of the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics, including an officer from the Kenosha Police Department, will escort the Flame of Hope on a journey across the entire state of Washington. After crossing the state as “Guardians of the Flame” to raise awareness for Special Olympics and generate excitement for the event, the Final Leg runners will ultimately run the Flame of Hope into Husky Stadium to commence the Opening Ceremony and the 2018 USA Games.
Tommy Jaime, Director of Communications