Press Release


June 27, 2018

Media Contacts:

Chantelle Lusebrink, Visit Seattle
(206) 461-5862 |

Jaymelina Esmele, Special Olympics USA Games
(206) 788-8964 |

In Seattle, We Win Together

Visit Seattle teams up with the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games to encourage inclusion and involvement

SEATTLE – Unlike any other event, the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games promises to bring Seattle together through the pursuit of sport. From July 1-6, more than 15,000 volunteers – many of whom are from greater Seattle area – will help support 4,000 athletes and coaches competing in 14 team and individual sports in venues across the Puget Sound. The Opening Ceremony on July 1 kicks off six extraordinary days of competition and special events where the abilities of athletes with intellectual disabilities will be celebrated at the national level.

To support the Games, Visit Seattle – the city’s official destination marketing organization, in partnership with its marketing agency of record PB& – launched a video commemorating the city’s inclusivity and residents’ volunteerism while encouraging community support by attending the week’s events.

“Seattle has a long history as a community of inclusivity. We believe in standing up, showing up and we are committed to building a community of acceptance and respect for everyone,” Senior Vice President & CMO of Visit Seattle Ali Daniels said. “We are honored to be the host city for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games because these games embody the best of humanity and athletic competition. That spirit will be matched by a community that knows when we all stand up, we win together.”

The vision concept for the video was led by PB& and the creation and production of the video were led by Seattle-native and The Office star Rainn Wilson’s content creation studio, Soul Pancake. Wilson, who is also an Ambassador for the 2018 USA Games, narrated the video, which includes imagery of Special Olympics athletes and the Seattle community. It will be distributed through Rainn Wilson’s personal channels and the Soul Pancake digital universe including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and more.

The video will be followed by a series of four short interview segments featuring Special Olympics athletes and celebrity USA Games Ambassadors including Team USA Volleyball Olympic medalist Courtney Thompson, former Seattle Seahawk and NFL Hall of Famer Walter Jones, Sounders FC forward Jordan Morris and Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart. To view each of the videos go to

Whether you’re a resident or visiting Seattle or Washington State during the Games, you can catch the excitement of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in the following ways:

  • 2018 Special Olympics USA Games Law Enforcement Torch Run®: From June 27-July 1 law enforcement officers representing 47 states, along with six Special Olympics athletes, will make up the prestigious “Final Leg” team for the Special Olympics USA Games Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR). Runs and ceremonies are scheduled throughout the state culminating on July 1 when the LETR team escorts the Flame of Hope into the Opening Ceremony at Husky Stadium at the University of Washington in Seattle. Be sure to catch a glimpse of the torch and the LETR teams by going to the USA Games website as they pass through the following cities: Liberty Lake, Spokane, Ephrata, Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Kennewick, Yakima, Ellensburg, Fort Lewis, Tacoma, Federal Way, Everett, Tulalip Bay, Vancouver, Olympia, Shelton, Redmond, Bellevue, Bremerton, Burien and Seattle.
  • 2018 Special Olympics USA Games Opening Ceremony will be like no other event in Seattle. Spectators will be immersed in the spirit of the Pacific Northwest while witnessing ceremonial traditions such as the Parade of Athletes and the lighting of the Special Olympics Flame of Hope. Actor-singer Taye Diggswill serve as emcee with musical performances by multi-GRAMMY nominated singer, songwriter and producer Charlie Puth, world renowned DJ and producer Marshmello, singer-songwriter and Washington-native Allen Stone, American Idol winner Maddie Poppe, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Ann Wilson of Heart and more. A 2,018-member choir, one of the largest vocal ensembles in Washington State history, will also serve as a living backdrop to the show. Doors open at 11 a.m. and the show begins at 12:30 p.m. July 1 at The University of Washington Husky Stadium. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $65 for reserved seating.

The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games were brought to Seattle through the Seattle Sports Commission (SSC), a division of Visit Seattle, dedicated to promoting, attracting and developing sports and recreational events with the purpose of enhancing the lifestyle and prosperity of the Puget Sound region.

“This exciting event would not have been possible without the coordinated efforts of our partners and organizations in the region. Seattle is a naturally passionate, inclusive, philanthropic city – truly a fitting host for The Games,” SSC Executive Director Ralph Morton said. “We are happy to have played a role, and extend a well-deserved ‘congratulations’ to the leadership team who drove this home.”

The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will be held in Seattle, Washington July 1-6, 2018. More than 4,000 participants representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, along with the support of tens of thousands of volunteers and spectators, will compete in 14 Olympic-type team and individual sports. The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will celebrate the Special Olympics movement by promoting the ideals of acceptance and inclusion through sport and by showcasing the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities. The 2018 USA Games will also highlight Special Olympics’ work in education, health and community-building. For more information on the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, please visit

The Seattle Sports Commission (SSC) is committed to making Seattle a world-class sports community by creating opportunities that bring the world to the Pacific Northwest. By fostering a strong sports culture, the SSC seeks to strengthen businesses, foster generational engagement in athletics and bolster pride in our communities. Go to to learn more about the SSC, a division of Visit Seattle.

Visit Seattle has served as the official destination marketing organization (DMO) for Seattle and King County for more than 50 years. A 501(c)(6) organization, Visit Seattle enhances the economic prosperity of the region through global destination branding along with competitive programs and campaigns in leisure travel marketing, convention sales and overseas tourism development. Nearly 40 million annual visitors spend $7.4 billion in the city and county each year. The economic power of travel and tourism generates more than 76,000 Seattle area jobs and contributes $762 million in annual state and local tax revenue. Go to

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