Special Olympics USA brings joy of sport to Seattle area this summer.

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The Special Olympics provide opportunities for athletes with intellectual disabilities to benefit from sports participation, and to shine. But the entire Puget Sound area will also benefit when Special Olympics’ national competition comes to the area in July.

Tens of thousands of volunteers and spectators of all abilities will enjoy the pageantry of a big national sports competition when the Special Olympics brings its inspiring message of acceptance and inclusion to the Seattle area.

During the USA Games ­July 1-6, more than 4,000 athletes and coaches from across the nation are expected to compete in 14 sports, including swimming, flag football, soccer, bowling, basketball, golf and gymnastics. Sports fans can watch the contests at venues spread across the region, from the University of Washington in Seattle to the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way and Willows Run Golf Course in Redmond. Organizers are hoping to fill Husky Stadium for the opening ceremony to make Seattle’s guests feel welcome and celebrated.

Special Olympics USA Games

For information about how to support and attend the USA Games coming to Seattle July 1-6, go to:

https://www.specialolympicsusagames.org/

Although this is the organization’s 50th anniversary summer, this is only the fourth time the USA Games have been held. The last was held in 2014 in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Before the first national games in 2006, the international Special Olympics were often held in the United States, but now are mostly hosted by other countries.

Nearly a dozen corporations from around the area, from Microsoft to Amazon, are supporting the games financially and with massive numbers of volunteers. So many people have stepped forward to offer their time that the organizers have started a waiting list. The Special Olympics team has set a goal of raising $16 million to ensure the expenses of all 4,000 coaches and athletes are covered.

Individuals can support the games by buying a $20 ticket to the opening ceremonies, making donations, buying Special Olympics merchandise, registering to volunteer or signing up to sing in a 2,018-member vocal ensemble that will perform at the opening ceremony on July 1.

There’s also cheering on the athletes at the many competitions where admission is free.