This FAQ page is primarily related to Team Wisconsin. For more general information on the USA Games, please visit the FAQ page for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games.
How many athletes from Wisconsin are competing in the 2018 USA Games?
- Wisconsin is sending 49 athletes from around the state and 5 Unified partners on the Unified Soccer team.
What does Unified Soccer mean?
- Team Wisconsin’s Unified Soccer team will compete in Unified Sports®, which combines individuals with intellectual disabilities (athletes) and individuals without intellectual disabilities (partners) on sports teams to promote social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences. The program was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.
How many Special Olympics agencies will be represented?
- 27 Special Olympics agencies from across Wisconsin will be represented by athletes in the USA Games. Each of Special Olympics Wisconsin’s seven regions is represented.
How were the Special Olympics athletes for Team Wisconsin selected?
- Athletes who wanted to be considered for the 2018 USA Games had to meet sport-specific criteria.
- In athletics (track & field), the athlete needed to have earned a gold medal in qualifying events at the 2017 State Summer Games.
- In basketball, the athlete needed to have qualified for and competed in the 2017 Indoor Sports Tournament.
- In bocce, the athlete needed to have qualified for the 2017 Outdoor Sports Tournament.
- In bowling, the athlete needed to have earned a gold medal at one of the 2016 State Bowling Tournaments.
- In swimming, the athlete needed to have earned a gold medal in qualifying events at the 2017 State Summer Games.
- In Unified Soccer, the athlete needed to have participated on a soccer team at their district competition and one of two qualifying soccer clinics.
- Qualifying athletes were then nominated by their agency manager and/or coach and could submit an application to attend the USA Games Selection Camp held September 15-17, 2017.
- Upon successful completion of the Selection Camp, athletes and Unified partners were randomly selected for placement on Team Wisconsin.
Were athletes who have been to previous USA or World Games eligible for the 2018 USA Games?
- Yes, athletes who previously competed at a USA or World Games were eligible for the 2018 USA Games and there are several athletes who made the team that have USA or World Games experience. However, athletes who had previously competed in a USA Games or World Games had one card included in the random draw while athletes who had never competed at the national or international level had two cards included.
Is this the highest level of competition in Special Olympics?
- No, there are international competitions like the World Summer Games and the World Winter Games. The most recent World Winter Games took place in 2017 in Austria. It occurs every four years and Special Olympics Wisconsin had three athletes participate in the competition. The World Summer Games also occurs every four years and the next event takes place in Abu Dhabi in 2019. Special Olympics Wisconsin will have two athletes and two Unified partners competing in bowling and golf.
Who will be accompanying the athletes and Unified partners to Seattle?
- The Team Wisconsin delegation will include 19 coaches, a head of delegation, an assistant head of delegation, a team doctor, three members of SOWI’s Youth Activation Committee who will be participating in the Youth Leadership Experience, and a handful of support staff.
When is Team Wisconsin leaving for Seattle?
- The Wisconsin Delegation will leave from O’Hare Airport in Chicago on Saturday, June 30. They will bus as a team from Wisconsin to the airport.
When is Team Wisconsin returning from Seattle?
- The Wisconsin Delegation will return on Saturday, July 7, flying back into O’Hare Airport in Chicago.
Will there be a send-off celebration?
- Yes, there will be send-off celebration on the afternoon of Friday, June 29 in Madison. It will be open to the public. Details on the celebration are TBD.
Who pays for the members of Team Wisconsin to participate in the USA Games?
- The majority of the funding for Team Wisconsin’s delegation comes from the general fund that is supported through fundraising efforts like the Polar Plunge, Run With The Cops, the Truck Convoy and other events throughout the year. The Wisconsin State Council for the Knights of Columbus also generously supports Team Wisconsin as a Presenting Partner of the USA Games. Additionally, each athlete and Unified partner is required to raise a minimum of $500 for the USA Games while others are required to raise a minimum of $250.
How can I help support Team Wisconsin?
- If you have an individual member of the Team Wisconsin delegation in mind, you can go directly to their athlete page and make a donation there. If you’d like to make a general donation to Team Wisconsin you can do so here.
Where will Team Wisconsin be staying during the USA Games?
- Team Wisconsin and the teams from other state programs will be staying in the dormitories on campus at the University of Washington.
Will the USA Games be televised?
- ESPN will be the official broadcaster for the 2018 USA Games in Seattle. Stay tuned to your local listings or ESPN’s online programming for their schedule of USA Games coverage. Fans can also get updates on USA Games coverage as well as competition results by following us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
What is the Youth Leadership Experience?
- The Youth Leadership Experience is an immersive experience in which participants will hold volunteer roles, engage in educational and interactive experiences, and shadow experienced key volunteers. Having the chance to reflect on, review, and learn from their everyday experiences at the Games, these youth leaders will become more deeply connected to the Special Olympics movement as committed volunteers, teammates and friends for life. Team Wisconsin will include two youth leaders and one mentor from its Youth Activation Committee participating in the Youth Leadership Experience.
What is the Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg?
- In the days before competition begins at the USA Games, an elite group of individuals will serve as the “Guardians of the Flame” and escort the Special Olympics Flame of Hope on a journey across the entire state of Washington, raising awareness for Special Olympics and generating excitement for the USA Games. Officer Kate Schaper of the Kenosha Police Department is among those who will make up the prestigious “Final Leg” team for the Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR). She was selected in recognition of her years of dedication to the Special Olympics movement and accomplishments as the Chair of the Kenosha Polar Plunge.