Special Olympics Washington 2019 World Games Send-off

The Storm partners with Special Olympics Washington to encourage inclusion and equality for all through the game of basketball. Volunteers play a special role and influence all aspects of the Special Olympics Washington community.

This year, Special Olympics Washington sent 21 athletes to compete at the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. The night before flying to Abu Dhabi, the athletes received a festive surprise send-off at a hotel near Sea-Tac Airport. The athletes thought they were simply headed to dinner the night before their trip, but were surprised by Storm mascot Doppler and staff from Bank of America and the Seattle Storm hosting a Send-Off Party!

The Seattle Storm staff provided all athletes with cards wishing them good luck and hosted a press conference previewing their upcoming competition.

Throughout the week, over 7,500 athletes competed in 24 sports. 200 nations were represented in Abu Dhabi, more than 20 of which were attending World Games for the first time.

The U.S. men’s Unified soccer team, which is made up of Washington athletes with and without intellectual disabilities, beat India 5-0 to take home the bronze medal. This is the first soccer team to ever represent the US in a World Games competition. Athlete Simon Van Giesen also won the bronze medal in the 50-meter backstroke. In all, more than 200 athletes from across the nation represented Special Olympics USA in Abu Dhabi, earning 72 gold, 61 silver and 70 bronze medals over the course of the seven-day event.