The Excitement and Anticipation of The Special Olympics USA Games
Over 50,000 fans are expected to be attracted to the fourth Special Olympics USA Games. Eunice Kennedy Shriver made a decision fifty years ago to revolutionize inclusion across sports and they are on their way to Seattle. The Special Olympics movement is celebrating their 50th anniversary. The Opening Ceremony will take place at Husky Stadium. Over 4,000 coaches and athletes are coming from 50 states. Thousands of spectators and volunteers are anticipating the excitement.
Athletes of every age with intellectual disabilities participate in the games. These athletes competed last summer at both state and local levels to qualify. The Gold medalists automatically became a part of the nationals and the other qualified athletes were placed in a lottery. Their names were randomly drawn for placement on the state teams. The USA Games occur every four years and have been hosted by Lawrenceville, New Jersey in 2014, Lincoln, Nebraska in 2010 and Ames, Iowa in 2006. The games are open to the public at no charge.
The Opening Ceremony
The tickets for the opening ceremony sell for $20. This amazing event features the parade of athletes, the performance of 2,000 singers, the music of Charlie Puth, Ann Wilson of Heart and so much more. This is when the Olympics Flame of Hope will be lit. ABC will be televising the ceremony beginning at 12:30 p.m. Kevin Negandhi is the host for ESPN2.
There will be 45 events including wheelchair races, walking, the long jump, shot-put and long distance running for the Seattle games competition. Some of these games are a modification of the original sport while others are unique to the Special Olympics. The participants should watch Andy Bryant. This 36-year-old is not new to running. His participation includes the 3,000 and 10,000-meter races. He has also run in the 42,000 Boston Marathon several times.
The Individual Sports
The basketball event involves teams playing full court five-on-five. This sport has been adapted with more lenient traveling enforcement and a shorter game. John Crandall has been competing in the Special Olympics for eight years, but this is his first performance for the USA games.
The Bocce event includes both doubles and singles as the athletes attempt to roll their ball closest to the pallina or target ball. The game will be played at the Dempsey Indoor on the artificial turf. Judy Ryba has been with the Special Olympics for 24 years and won a gold medal in 1996. Bocce is her sport of choice.
The Bowling games are filled with many athletes coming from Washington. Some competitors are allowed to use modifications including ramps and bumpers are welcome. Adela Bertuccio-Antignani is only fifteen years old and already at the top of the bowling ranks.
Flag Football is still fairly new to the Special Olympics. Five-on-five football is featured during two twenty minute halves. Every level of the competition has co-ed teams. John Baux is being called a vital team player. He has been participating in the Special Olympics since 2002. He has a reputation for a marvelous sense of humor.
The other events include golf, gymnastics, powerlifting, soccer, softball, stand-up paddle board, swimming, tennis and volleyball.