Read about our featured athletes
Special Olympics Washington
Special Olympics USA Summer Games are coming to UW!
Special Olympics Washington provides year round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Athletes have continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
Special Olympics Washington Reach
- 17,000 Special Olympics Washington athletes
- 19 Olympic-type sports
- 10,000 coaches, volunteers & unified partners
The goal is to raise $2018 per each Washington state athlete to train and compete for the 2018 USA Summer Games. Learn how you can support our athletes!
Team Washington Facts
- 278 Washington State athletes
- 20 coaches/delegation
- 15 sports to train and compete
- $2018 per person to train and compete in the 2018 USA Games
- $750,000 dollars needed to fund all of Team Washington
- One amazing journey for Special Olympics Washington and the community
The Power of Sports
At Special Olympics, we believe that sports can teach us all important lessons. When we train and strive for a goal, it teaches us to dream. When we struggle, it teaches us determination. When we win, we find joy. And if we lose, we can find the strength to try again.
Our sports events bring together a large and inclusive community of athletes, supporters and families, coaches, volunteers and many others. The athletes are at the center of it all. They become the heroes — to the shared joy of themselves, their families, and their communities. These events help us all rediscover the purity of sports – and real athletic pursuits — based on true Olympic ideals.
Special Olympics training and competitions are empowering because our athletes prove what they can do. This inspires them to achieve even more, both in sports and in life. At each Special Olympics event, everyone can see and experience the purity of sports and true athletic success.
Our athletes are pushing hard for goals some people can’t imagine, against obstacles few have had to face. Their drive to succeed comes from deep inside — it comes from the heart.
For more information about Special Olympics Washington, visit their website.
Molly Anderson’s Special Olympics Washington career began 16 years ago. Her first sport was softball through Eastside Catholic. She discovered her true love, downhill skiing the next year and, in a few short years, she was ready for the Skihawks Racing Team. Molly then played soccer for Mercer Island.
Sean Pugh has been involved with Special Olympics since he was eight years old. He began competing in track and field events while a young boy, and at only 10, Sean competed in the Fort Lewis Track and Field Competition.
Sean has been a part of the many different sports that Special Olympics has to offer including soccer, team handball and volleyball. He currently participates in basketball, track, softball and his personal favorite, bowling. One person Sean really looks up to is Hall of Fame professional bowler, Randy Pedersen. Sean and his family enjoy travelling to Las Vegas to go bowling.
When he was in high school, Sean made the big decision to join his high school’s track team. Though it was a big step outside of his comfort zone, Sean worked hard and earned a varsity letter. However, his favorite Special Olympics memory involves a different sport. In 1999, he traveled to North Carolina for the World Summer Games to compete in softball.
When asked if he has a message about how living with an intellectual disability has impacted him, Sean says that he doesn’t feel like he has a disability. He feels that everyone has some kind of an issue that they deal with, so he doesn’t think of himself as any different.
Outside of competition, Sean shows his commitment and hard work in other areas. He has worked as a parking lot attendant at the Washington State Fair for 15 years, and also runs the clock at North Thurston High School basketball games. In addition, he has served on the Special Olympics Board of Directors, worked as a member of the Input Council and has taken part in the Athlete Leadership Program. Throughout his journey, Sean has made a tremendously positive impact on the Special Olympics community.
Christina Barry was introduced to Special Olympics in the third grade. Her first events included Track and Standing Long Jump. These early experiences led to more than 25 years of her participation in many Special Olympics sports. Christina also participates in the Young Athlete’s Program as a volunteer and is serving on the Athlete Input Council.
Special Olympics has provided Christina the opportunity to learn new skills, sportsmanship and team spirit, and to build strength, confidence, independence and lasting friendships. The incredible coaches and volunteers from Special Olympics Washington have truly enriched and made an extraordinary difference her life.
In only a short time, Jezzy Tumbaga has quickly become a valued member of the Special Olympics community. While being in a wheelchair prevents Jezzy from being able to compete athletically, she has involved herself in many different ways as a volunteer. During high school, she participated in various Special Olympics events and helped out however she could.
Volunteering with Special Olympics is a rewarding experience for Jezzy. She loves being able to help out and travel with her friends to events, and, at just 21 years old, she has already done so much for the Special Olympics community.
Jezzy is currently an intern working at Children’s Hospital. When she’s not working or volunteering, Jezzy enjoys watching Netflix, YouTube and hanging out with her friends. It will be exciting to see the amazing ways in which Jezzy continues to impact the Special Olympics community.
The UW Combined Fund Drive is proud to partner with Special Olympics Washington and bring its message to the University of Washington as our 2017 featured charity.