ESPN announced yesterday that Special Olympics Wisconsin athlete Daina Shilts will make her debut with the network as the Special Olympics Analyst throughout the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games from Seattle. Daina’s and ESPN’s coverage of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle will begin July 1 with a live two-and-a-half hour special on ABC capturing the inspiration, pageantry, performances and special guests of the USA Games Opening Ceremony. Daina will then report live from athletic venues throughout Seattle from July 2-6 as 3,500 competitors from across the country and the District of Columbia participate in the premier national sports event for Special Olympics programs in the United States.
- Kevin Negandhi to host coverage, including Live Opening Ceremony from Husky Stadium and nightly programs throughout the 2018 USA Games
- Opening Ceremony emceed by Taye Diggs, with performances from Charlie Puth, Marshmello, Allen Stone, Ann Wilson and more; Speakers include Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver
- Nightly 2018 Special Olympics USA Games program to bring viewers stories, competition showcase, interviews and more throughout the Games
- Coverage also includes: LIVE daily streaming coverage of swimming competition on ESPN3, extensive news, video and information on ESPN.com, ESPN App; Vignette Series across ESPN platforms
ESPN’s coverage of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle will begin July 1 with a live two-and-a-half hour special on ABC capturing the inspiration, pageantry, performances and special guests of the USA Games Opening Ceremony. Kevin Negandhi will host ESPN’s coverage of the Opening Ceremony, and will anchor its nightly coverage throughout the Games. Monday, July 2 through Friday, July 6, Negandhi will host 2018 Special Olympics USA Games each night on ESPN2, bringing viewers the stories, competition showcase, interviews and more from Seattle each evening.
Additionally, throughout the week, ESPN3 will carry six and a half hours of LIVE streaming coverage from swimming competition taking place at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.
Special Olympics athlete and ambassador Daina Shilts will make her debut with ESPN, serving as Special Olympics Analyst throughout the Games and during the Opening Ceremony. ESPN’s coverage team will also include reporters Marty Smith, Holly Rowe and Jen Lada, swimming analysts Paul Sunderland, Victoria Arlen and Rowdy Gaines, as well as contributions from Kenny Mayne.
“Anybody that loves sports and storytelling is going to love our coverage of the Special Olympics USA Games,” said Russell Wolff, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, ESPN International. “The Opening Ceremony will be an extraordinary live event and viewers will be so impressed by these athletes, their ability and competitive spirit and the incredible stories we will tell throughout the week.”
The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will also mark the beginning of an extended period of Special Olympics related coverage by ESPN, followed by coverage celebrating the 50thAnniversary of Special Olympics and culminating in ESPN’s coverage of the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games, in Abu Dhabi in March.