Legends & the 2018 Special Olympics
Four thousand athletes and coaches from all 50 states, 14 sports, and 10,000 volunteers. Inspiring numbers for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games recently held in Seattle.
Among those volunteers were a number of Seahawks Legends, who were front and center welcoming the athletes to town, walking with them onto the field during the opening ceremonies, and coaching them during the flag football competitions.
The opening ceremonies were held on July 1 at Husky Stadium, and the adjacent flag football fields featured Legends Walter Jones, Dave Krieg, Steve Largent, Ray Roberts and Jim Zorn, all providing coaching tips for the players. Jordan Babineaux and Marcus Trufant were at the opening ceremonies and greeted the athletes as they made their way onto the field. Flag football competition continued through July 5, with medals presented on July 5 and 6.
Ray Roberts has been involved with the Special Olympics for quite some time now, and in 2017 he was hired by the organization as the director of Unified Champion Schools for urban development. He sees the games as the payoff for a lot of fundraising work.
“I’ve done a lot of events for the Special Olympics, trying to raise funds from around the community, and everything we’ve done has been well attended,” said Roberts.
The Special Olympics athletes have made quite an impression on Jordan Babineaux, and not just because of their prowess in the games.
“These athletes are just that – they’re competitive, brave, they’re courageous, and more than anything they have a story to tell,” said Babineaux.
Hall of Famer Steve Largent also has an ongoing relationship with the Special Olympics, and as a volunteer he appreciates the efforts of everyone involved in making the games happen.
“It’s always been a cool thing to be involved with, and the people that help out with Special Olympics are great people,” said Largent. “It’s such a great cause, such enthusiastic young people getting involved in athletics, and it’s fun to see.”
The closing ceremonies were held on July 6 at Lake Union Park in Seattle.
In addition to showcasing the awe-inspiring abilities of thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities, the 2018 USA Games in Seattle modeled the ideals of inclusion and celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics movement.
The 2018 USA Games served as a catalyst for the City of Inclusion initiative, showcasing the work Seattle area businesses and organizations are doing to create a community where people with intellectual disabilities are meaningfully and fully welcome and valued.