The fourth Special Olympics USA Games is expected to attract more than 50,000 fans to venues across the Seattle region. Need a primer? We've got a sport-by-sport guide, event map and schedule inside.

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Fifty years ago, Eunice Kennedy Shriver launched an effort to revolutionize inclusion across sports. This week, it comes to Seattle.

On the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics movement, the USA Games are in town, starting Sunday with the Opening Ceremony at Husky Stadium. Through July 6, more than 4,000 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will compete in 14 sports. Thousands of volunteers and spectators are ready for action.

Who competes: The games feature athletes of all ages with intellectual disabilities. Last summer, athletes competed at local and state-level games to qualify for these games. Gold medalists automatically advanced to the nationals while other qualified applicants were submitted into a lottery and names were randomly drawn for spots on state teams.

History: The USA Games take place every four years. The previous host cities were Ames, Iowa (2006); Lincoln, Neb. (2010); and Lawrenceville, N.J. (2014).

Admission: All sporting events are free and open to the public.

Opening Ceremony: Tickets are $20 and the event features a parade of athletes, the lighting of the Olympics Flame of Hope, a huge USA Games choir of 2,000 singers will perform, as will music acts including Ann Wilson of Heart, Charlie Puth and more. The ceremony starts at 12:30 p.m. and will be televised on ABC.

TV coverage: Daily highlights, 3 p.m. on ESPN2 (except 2 p.m. Wednesday). Hosted by Kevin Negandhi.

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When: M: 8-11:45a; T: 8a-2p; W: 9:30a-12p; Th: 8a-2:15p; F: 8a-9:45a
Where: Husky Track (University of Washington)

Full schedule »

Forty-four events — from walking and wheelchair races to shot-put, long jump and distance running — will make up the competition at the Seattle games. Some are unique to Special Olympics, others are modified versions of the traditional sport. All athletes advance to a final.

Keep an eye on …

Andy Bryant, 36, Woodinville: Distance running is nothing new for Andy. He’ll be competing in the Special Olympics’ two longest races — the 3,000- and 10,000-meters. But those pale in comparison to the 42,000-plus meters of the Boston Marathon, which he has ran multiple times. Read more.


When: M: 8a-9p; T: 8a-3:15p; W: 8a-4:30p; Th: 8-11:30a
Where: Alaska Airlines Arena, Marv Harshman Court, IMA Courts (UW); Redhawk Center (Seattle U)

Full schedule »

Teams play full-court five-on-five. Some optional adaptations include a shorter game and more lenient traveling enforcement.

Keep an eye on …

John Crandall, 31, West Richland: Look out for John in the low post. This is his eighth year competing in Special Olympics, but it’s his first USA Games playing basketball. He originally got involved with Special Olympics as a softball player.


When: M: 9a-5p; T: 9a-5p; W: 9a-5p; Th: 9a-1p
Where: Dempsey Indoor Center (UW)

Full schedule »

Competitions include both singles and doubles in this sport in which players try to roll their bocce ball closest to the target ball, or pallina. Games will be on the artificial turf of Dempsey Indoor at the UW.

Keep an eye on …

Judy Ryba, 50, Everett: You name it, Judy has done it. In her 34 years with Special Olympics Everett, she has competed in tennis, volleyball, softball, swimming, powerlifting, basketball and roller skating, even winning a gold medal at the World Games in Connecticut in 1996. But this year? Bocce is the sport of choice for Judy, who will be competing with her friend and unified partner, Evelyn.


When: M: 8:30-11:30a; T: 8:30-11:30a; W: 8:30-11:30a; Th: 8:30-11:30a
Where: Kenmore Lanes

Full schedule »

Popular and accessible, it’s got more Special Olympics athletes from Washington than any other sport. Some competitors are permitted to use ramps and other modifications. Bumpers are welcome.

Keep an eye on …

Adela Bertuccio-Antignani, 15, Gig Harbor: At just 15 years old, Adela is one of the youngest athletes on Team Washington. But she has already ascended to the top of the bowling ranks. She’s joined by only two other Washington athletes in the singles high-performance bowling.

Flag Football

When: M: 9a-5p; T: 8a-7:30p; W: 9a-2p; Th: 9a-3p
Where: IMA Fields (UW)

Full schedule »

Relatively new to Special Olympics, flag football will feature two 20-minute halves of five-on-five football, with co-ed teams at every level of competition.

Keep an eye on …

John Baux, 57, Olalla: You can spell team without John, but you can’t make a very good one. He’s dubbed as a “vital” team player, having competed in Special Olympics team sports since 2002. Maybe it has something to do with his signature sense of humor.


When: M: 8:30a-12:30p; T: 8:30a-12:30p; W: 8:30a-12:30p
Where: Willows Run Golf Complex

Full schedule »

Golfers are sorted into five levels of competition, with a tournament taking place over three days. In scoring, if a player takes more than 10 strokes, that’s it for that hole and it is marked a “10x.”

Keep an eye on …

Miguel McCoy, 19, Spokane: Miguel enters Special Olympics USA Games already with a collection of medals and trophies, having won gold in three sports, including golf, in 2017, and the sportsmanship award in 2015. A senior at Tahoma High School, McCoy has been a part of Special Olympics since he was 8 years old.


When: T: 10a-12p, 1:30-3p; W: 9:30-10:40a, 11:25a-12:15p; Th: 9:30-10:40a, 11:25a-12:15p
Where: Seattle Pacific University

Full schedule »

You’ll see an artistic amalgam of short routines on all sorts of events, usually 30-90 seconds long. The first day has four levels of all-around competition; individual events take up days two and three.

Keep an eye on …

Virginia Wade, 17, Seattle: Virginia is only 17, but her Special Olympics experience has already taken her to the World Winter Games in Austria, in alpine skiing, and the World Summer Games in Athens, also in gymnastics. She returns to compete in her hometown of Seattle, where she already is on Roosevelt High School’s gymnastics team.


When: M: 9a-2p; T: 9a-2p, 6-9p; Th: 9a-2p; F: 9a-12p
Where: Meaney Hall for the Performing Arts (UW)

Full schedule »

The traditional Olympic sport of weightlifting consists of the snatch and the clean and jerk. But powerlifting is a bit different. Athletes compete in three lifts: the squat, bench press and deadlift.

Keep an eye on …

Kellene Trowbridge, 42, Everett: A respected weightlifter in her own right — she was an alternate for the Athens World Games — what Kellene wants to do is sing. She’s recorded multiple songs — even a Star Trek-themed Christmas album — and says she’d trade a medal for a chance to sing the national anthem at Special Olympics USA Games.


When: M: 9a-5p; T: 9a-5p; W: 9a-4p; Th: 9a-2:40p
Where: Championship Field, SU Park (Seattle U)

Full schedule »

There will be five-on-five and seven-on-seven matches, the fives mostly of traditional teams and the sevens with unified athletes (four athletes and three partners). Offsides will not be called in any of them.

Keep an eye on …

Jonathan Leckband, 44, Kent: In his 33rd year participating in Special Olympics, Jonathan’s dreams have come true, finally qualifying and competing in the USA Games. His coworkers at Metro Transit even accommodated into his schedule extra time to prepare for the big stage.


When: M: 8a-3:30p; T: 8a-2p; Th: 8a-3:30p
Where: Celebration Park

Full schedule »

It’s slow-pitch, with two home plates: one for the runner and one for the catcher, and all outs at home are force plays. Both traditional and unified teams will compete in pool play before moving on to a medal round and the finals.

Keep an eye on …

Casey Condit, 13, Lake Stevens: It’s not clear what will set Casey apart first: His hair or his age. One of the youngest competitors in this year’s Special Olympics at 13 years old, Casey has been participating in Special Olympics since he was 9. This will be his first USA Games as a member of Team Washington.

Stand-up paddle board

When: M: 8a-12p; T: 8a-12p
Where: Angle Lake

Full schedule »

Depending on skill level, athletes will race around a diamond-shaped, 800-meter course from one to four times. The typical lap takes about 15 minutes. Washington’s five athletes competing is tied with Florida for the most of any state.

Keep an eye on …

Devon Adelman, 21, Seattle: From cheerleader at Nathan Hale High School to delivering a keynote address at the United Nations and meeting President Barack Obama, it’s been some kind of past few years for Devon. It’s all led to her becoming an official Special Olympics ambassador. Paddle boarding isn’t her first sport, but combining skills learned in skiing and soccer, she learned fast and qualified for the USA Games in her hometown.

INTERACTIVE VIDEO | Go out on the water with Devon Adelman »


When: M: 10:30a-4:05p; T: 9:15a-3:45p; W: 9a-12:35p; Th: 9a-2:50p; F: 9:10-11:20a
Where: King County Aquatic Center

Full schedule »

Twenty-five different races range in length from 25 meters to 800, including 4×25 and 4×50 team relays. You’re not disqualified for touching the pool floor; race judges can make other adaptations at their discretion.

Keep an eye on …

Justin Olds, 19, Maple Valley: Justin took home gold in three sports, including swimming, in the 2017 Special Olympics Washington games. Now, having just graduated from Tahoma High School, he is going for gold at the national level in the 25-meter backstroke and freestyle races.


When: M: 8a-7p; T: 8a-9p; W: 8a-4p; Th: 8a-4p; F: 8a-12p
Where: Bill Quillian Tennis Stadium (UW)

Full schedule »

Competitors — singles and both unified and traditional doubles — will play a seeding round in the Games’ first days before moving to finals. Using the “no-ad” scoring method, the next point wins a tied game, and there are no more than seven games played in a match.

Keep an eye on …

Howard Salisbury, 72, Seattle: Howard is one of the oldest competitors at this year’s Special Olympics USA Games, and he has the résumé to prove it. He has carried the Olympic torch through Seattle, won international gold in softball and run dozens of marathons. But his sport of choice this year? Tennis.


When: M: 9a-4p; W: 9:30a-4p; Th: 9a-2p; F: 8a-11:45a
Where: IMA Courts (UW)

Full schedule »

Teams of six, both unified and traditional, will compete in pool play before a medal round and the finals. Net height, court size and ball size can be modified. Another teammate rotates to serve after three points in a row.

Keep an eye on …

Roland Kirby, 56, Marysville: After trying out but not making teams in high school, Roland followed in his brother’s path and turned to Special Olympics. He hasn’t looked back since, even qualifying for and competing in the 1991 World Games, and will play volleyball at the USA Games in Seattle.