The University of Washington had the privilege of hosting the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games at the beginning of July. The weeklong competition, featuring 3,000 athletes from all 50 states, has been called the biggest sporting event at the UW and in the Puget Sound region since the 1990 Goodwill Games.
The best of the best will qualify for the international games, where the organization will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. “Through sports, our athletes are seeing themselves for their abilities, not disabilities,” says the Special Olympics website. “Their world is opened with acceptance and understanding. They become confident and empowered by their accomplishments.”
Columns Magazine set up a photo booth to capture the bright smiles and unstoppable attitudes of some of this year’s athletes, as well as their coaches and their Unified Sports teammates (Unified Sports is an initiative that pairs up individuals with and without intellectual disabilities).