Participating athletes from fifty states and the District of Columbia ran out to a roaring audience estimated at 50,000 spectators for the Opening Ceremony of the 50th Special Olympic Games Sunday, July 1st at Husky Stadium. Even the intermittent early summer weather—a cycle of sun, rain and clouds—couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm, from Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Ann Wilson’s powerful performance of the national anthem and The Voice’s Kayla James heart-warming song, “This is Me,” to encouraging words and performances from special guests that included emcee Taye Diggs, Governor Jay Inslee, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, musician Allen Stone and many others.
In the spirit of the games—that celebrate the abilities of athletes with intellectual disabilities across 14 different team and individual sports—Tim Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics, captured the feeling of the festive event: "You athletes value passion, unity and respect. You are the leaders this world needs.”
The 2018 Special Olympics run through Friday, July 6th at sporting facilities across the greater Seattle area. For information about where to view an event, visit the Special Olympics website, or watch coverage on official broadcast network ESPN at ESPN3 (daily highlights at ESPN2) or online. Through July 6th. Venues and times vary. Free and open to public.