Faculty & Staff Insider

July 16, 2018

UW community supports Special Olympics

The University of Washington welcomed the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games to our Seattle campus July 1–6. Throughout the week, more than 54,000 spectators enjoyed athletic competitions, special events, ceremonies and more. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and retirees came together as fans and volunteers to ensure a great experience for all athletes and attendees.

The action — in both competition and building camaraderie — began Sunday, July 1, with the opening ceremony at Husky Stadium. More than 39,000 attended to welcome the arrival of 4,150 athletes and celebrate the spirit of the Games. The athletic competitions began July 2, with the UW hosting flag football, bocce, basketball, tennis, volleyball, powerlifting and track. Athletes, coaches and support staff stayed on campus in residence halls; when they weren’t participating in competitions, they enjoyed the provided entertainment and other fun activities. UW dental volunteers also provided personalized dental care for athletes as part of the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program.

In addition to highlighting the inspiring abilities of thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities, the USA Games modeled the ideals of inclusion and celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics movement. UW President Ana Mari Cauce emphasized the importance of the Games in her recent blog post.

The UW also won the ESPN/Special Olympics Unified Sports Challenge, which featured 15 five-person teams, each composed of a sponsoring company executive, their employees, a Special Olympics athlete and a celebrity. President Cauce and Dean and Vice Provost of Undergraduate Academic Affairs Ed Taylor led the UW team. Read more in the Daily.

Many units across the UW helped make the Games a success, including UW Athletics, Emergency Management, Environmental Health & Safety, Finance & Administration, Housing & Food Services, Information Technology, Marketing & Communications, Medicine, the UW Police Department, Recreation, School of Dentistry, Sustainability, Video and more, as well as the staffs of the Husky Union Building, Kane Hall and Meany Hall.

Check out some of our favorite moments from the Games:

See more photos and meet the stars of the Special Olympics 2018 USA Games.

Read more about how Housing & Food Services staff supported the athletes.