King County: #RiseWithUs
Welcome 2018 Special Olympics USA Games!
Let me win. But, if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.
– Special Olympics Athlete Oath
During the July 1-6 Seattle- and King County-hosted games, more than 4,000 athletes and coaches representing each state and the District of Columbia will compete in 14 team and individual sports “in the best sports facilities in the greater Seattle region including the University of Washington, Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, King County Parks’ Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center, Willows Run Golf Club, Celebration Park, Angle Lake and Kenmore Lanes,” according to the games’ official website. All sporting events are free and open to the public.
King County joins the State of Washington and the City of Federal Way as a Public Partner of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, and King County Metro has joined Sound Transit, Alaska Airlines, REI Co-op and others as a Bronze Medal Partner. In a joint effort with Sound Transit, King County Metro is an Official Transportation Sponsor of the 2018 USA Games. “We’re honored to do our part for the Games, and invite the athletes, families and volunteers to ride and enjoy our frequent and reliable transit services,” said King County Metro General Manager Rob Gannon. “We’re inspired by both the competitive spirit and sense of community the Games are bringing here, and hope everyone enjoys our region’s unique sights and wonderful culture during their stay.”
“Athletes, coaches and fans from across the nation will gather in Seattle for the 2018 USA Games, and for many, this will be their first visit to our region. We couldn’t ask for a better welcoming committee than our partners at the Port of Seattle, King County Metro and Sound Transit,” said Beth Knox, president and CEO of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games.
According to the official press release, King County Metro and Sound Transit will provide a total of 4,000 pre-paid ORCA Passport cards, which will enable athletes and their families to travel by bus, water taxi, and light rail throughout King County, including to and from Sea-Tac Airport and between USA Games venues.
In addition to being a public partner of the games, King County is proud to have employees participating! Jonathan Leckband, office assistant with the Department of Transportation, and Rama ‘RJT’ Tall, parks specialist with the Department of Natural Resources and Parks, are two employee athletes who will be competing in the 2018 USA Games. I’m looking forward to the chance to show how good our team is,” said Leckband, a soccer player and teammate of RJT. “This will also be a chance to demonstrate sportsmanship, and maybe make new friends.”
The mission of the USA Games is much like our own King County goal of seeing both our employees and those we serve have the opportunity to fulfill their potential. “Over the last 3 years, King County’s Supported Employment Program has recruited for 12 positions, which is the largest increase of new positions within the program since the 1990’s early 2000’s,” said Christina Davidson, King County Supported Employment Program Manager. “It is great to see employees like Jonathan and RJT recognized for their contributions at King County and as an athletes competing in the upcoming games.”
For more information, tickets, schedules and special events details, visit the Special Olympic USA Games website. In addition to event information, there are details on the site about a variety of ways to get involved and opportunities to volunteer. You may also nominate a game changer. If you know a person or a company that exemplifies what it means to be inclusive, the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games wants to hear from you!
Get social with the games!