The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games are being held in Orlando this summer, and Walt Disney World is the main host location.
Scheduled for June 5-12, the games will unite more than 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean to participate in 19 Olympic-style team and individual sports.
The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will host many of these competitions, including basketball, flag footba, gymnastics, powerlifting, soccer, softball, and volleyball.
Meanwhile Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon will host the surfing competition, and Disney’s Coronado Springs will be the location for the Bocce competition.
The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games Opening Ceremony will take place off-site at Exploria Stadium near downtown Orlando, but is being produced by Disney Live Entertainment.
Hosted by journalist and national television personality T.J. Holmes, the one-of-a-kind Opening Ceremony will include more than 500 performers, plus a special live performance by Grammy Award-winning artist Sara Bareilles.
“I am honored to take part in the Opening Ceremony,” shared Sara Bareilles, “Music unites and inspires, and that is what Special Olympics does every day. To be a part of the USA Games and perform for the athletes and their families as they begin this amazing week is a true gift.”
In addition, Special Olympics athlete Shawn Hinz, joined by Disney’s Voices of Liberty, will sing a solo during “America the Beautiful.”
“There are sure to be magical surprises, rousing dance numbers, audience participation, and beautiful heartfelt moments when Disney is on hand to help the USA Games ‘Shine as One,’” said Tom Vazzana, Creative Director for Disney Live Entertainment.
Tickets for the opening ceremony are $55 each. If you can’t be there in person, ESPN, the global broadcast partner of Special Olympics and the USA Games, will air the Ceremony June 5 at noon EST on ABC, as well as on WatchESPN and ESPN the app.
If you have a group of 10 or more, you can also participate in their Fans in the Stands Program. Show up and cheer loud as athletes compete, especially since some have families that couldn’t come.
Walt Disney World will also be hosting a theme park party for the athletes and event organizers. You may notice shorter park hours during the week of the games. For instance, EPCOT hours on June 5th are reduced.
To find out more about the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, or to purchase tickets, visit 2022USAGames.org.