Faculty & Staff Insider

June 5, 2018

Special Olympics USA Games come to the UW this July

Join faculty, staff and students to cheer on the athletes competing on our Seattle campus

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 Special SOUSA2Olympics USA Games.

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.

Schedule Overview

  • June 29-30: Athletes and coaches move into the UW
  • July 1: Opening ceremony at Husky Stadium
  • July 2-6: Sporting events at the UW and additional local venues
  • July 6: Closing ceremony at Lake Union Park
  • July 7: Athletes and coaches depart the UW
  • Full schedule

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

About the USA 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. 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.SOUSA1
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.

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.

More information: