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Special Olympics USA Games Kick Off This Sunday

Kid Reporter Hayden Goldberg, who will be covering the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, offers an overview of the competition.

At 3:30 p.m. ET on July 1, the University of Washington’s Husky Stadium will be filled as athletes, their friends and family members, and fans watch the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics USA Games. You might not know a lot about the event, but that’s O.K. because I’m here to tell you all about it, and I’ll be covering the Games for SI Kids!

Special Olympics promotes, encourages, and gives a platform to people with intellectual disabilities to participate in sports. In the Olympics and Paralympics, talent and competition rule over inclusivity; Special Olympics’ goal is to make sure any athlete who wants to participate can.

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 171 other countries have their own Special Olympics programs. The worldwide movement will celebrate its 50th anniversary later this year, and competition will culminate with the March 2019 World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Between July 1 and 6, athletes from around the U.S. will come together in Seattle, Washington, for the Special Olympic USA Games, which are held every four years. Fifty-two delegations (California is split into two delegations, plus Washington D.C.) will send athletes to participate in 14 sports throughout the week.

Athletics (track and field), basketball, bocce, flag football, powerlifting, tennis, and volleyball will take place on the University of Washington campus. Bowling, golf, gymnastics, soccer, softball, stand up paddleboard, and swimming will take place at various venues in the Seattle area such as Seattle Pacific University, Seattle University, and King County Aquatic Center.

ESPN3 will live-stream swimming each afternoon between July 2 and 5 at various times, while ESPN2 will broadcast a nightly recap, including highlights and athlete stories at 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. on July 4). You can stream all events on the ESPN app.

The opening ceremony will be broadcast on ABC at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 1, and highlights from the closing ceremony and the rest of the week will air on ABC at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 8.

Stay tuned to for stories from the Games.

Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images (2014 USA Games opening ceremony)