USA and World Games

Alternating between summer and winter, the Special Olympics World Games are one of the world's largest sporting events, drawing as many, if not more, athletes than the Olympics.

Every two years since 1968, athletes from all nations have gathered to celebrate sport and showcase the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities. This prominent world stage brings attention to the Special Olympics movement and helps create positive - sometimes lifesaving - policy change for people with intellectual disabilities in countries around the world.

In 2006, the first USA Games were held in Ames, Iowa as an opportunity to showcase the talents of athletes from throughout the United States. The USA Games are now held every four years offering summer sports for thousands of athletes to participate in with their peers.

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The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will be held in Seattle, Washington, July 1st to 6th and will bring together more than 4,000 Special Olympics athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the District of Columbia together to compete before tens of thousands of spectators and volunteers.

The 2018 USA Games will showcase the limitless talents of people with intellectual disabilities while promoting the barrier-breaking power of sport to promote inclusion and acceptance. The event will also celebrate Special Olympics' 50th anniversary in 2018.

Special Olympics Connecticut is proud to be sending athletes and Unified Sports partners to the 2018 USA Games to compete in bocce, tennis, bowling, track & field, swimming and basketball.


Lesley Morgan - Head of Delegation
Amanda Parolise - Assistant Head of Delegation
Craig Malan - Floating Coach/Medical

Heather Minervini - Coach
Karl Arezzini, Stephen Emblidge, Lia Muchin and Alec Sachs - Athletes          

Cara Manforte, Coach
Jonathan Guadino-Piccolo, Justin Mazza, Sean Murphy and Thomas O'Neill - Athletes

Unified Tennis
Emily Malan - Coach
Lonnie Braxton III, Brett Glaser, Nicholas Leitkowski and Paul Tetreault - Unified Teammates

Unified Basketball
Chris Staley and Shellie Ciccarelli - Coaches
Nicholas Allard, Mark Bastien, Daniel Benjamin, Cameron Duda, James Franck, Patrick Jones, Elijah Lamarre, Alex Lherisson, Giovanni Moran, Jared Small - Unified Teammates

Unified Bowling
Lisa Thomasco - Coach
Laurice Borders, Shayne Curtiss, Richard Kent and Abby Snyder - Unified Teammates     

Alternate Shot Golf
Kevin Smith - Coach
Dale Akerley, Jessica Fobert, Joyce Grodovich and Anthony Thibeault - Unified Teammates

Youth Leadership:
Yori Hotta - Coach
Mya Deshaw and Olivia Stanikmas - Unified Teammates


Title Sponsor - Bozzuto's and The Hometown Foundation

Team Apparel Sponsor - Columbia Sportswear

Travel Bag Sponsor - Thule

Team Sponsors and Honorary Coaches
The Arrix Family - Unified Basketball
The Truwit Family - Swimming
The Elmore Family - Athletics
The Raza Family - Bowling

Athlete Travel Sponsors
Adam's Hometown Market
Dean Cusano and Carol and Walter Davison
Franco American War Veterans Post 26
Hudson Valley Motors
The Jaguar Club of Southern New England
Turnpike Motors

Luggage Tag Sponsor - Triple Stitch Sportswear
Team Connectiut Donor - Coinstar


In order for an athlete or a partner to be eligible for selection to Team Connecticut, they must qualify under the guidelines of Article I., Section K Criteria for Advancement to Higher Level of Competition in the Special Olympics Sports Rules Book as found on As stated in Section K, No. 3.d.1, priority is given to first place finishers from all divisions of the sport/event.

Prior to the selection process, Special Olympics Connecticut requests a quota for either World or USA Games, based upon the sports offered at such competition, number of athletes competing in those sports at SOCT events and interchanging the sports offered over the years to provide increased opportunities.  Quota numbers are based upon budget constraints.

Athletes interested in applying for consideration of advancement to either World or USA Games must complete an Athlete/Partner Application Form to enter into a lottery system for selection to Team Connecticut.  Team sports for USA Games are selected through a try-out process.  All athletes applying for selection to Team Connecticut must have participated in their selected sport in the year prior to the actual application and lottery process.