Three days. Four sports. 630 dedicated athletes. Special Olympics Washington’s 2023 State Fall Games returned to the Tri-Cities November 17-19, bringing together more than 1,100 athletes, Unified Partners, coaches and volunteers from across Washington State.
Filled with excitement and anticipation for the upcoming festivities, the crowd cheered as the Law Enforcement Torch Run brought the Flame of Hope to its symbolic entrance during the Opening Ceremony at Richland High School on Friday evening, November 17.
Saturday morning marked the start of competitions for gymnastics, volleyball, flag football and bowling—and the athletes didn’t disappoint. Their sheer passion and love for their sports inspired the hundreds of spectators and volunteers in attendance. That night, with spirits high, athletes and their families celebrated their triumphs by busting a move at the Victory Dance. This excitement carried over to Sunday, which marked the close of competitions as well as the Awards Ceremony.
279 gold medals, 243 silver medals and 208 bronze medals were awarded, along with an estimated 200 ribbons, for the athletes’ impressive feats—but those weren’t the weekend’s only accomplishments.
Our Healthy Athletes program, which offers free health screenings for all athletes, performed a total of 131 screenings, encompassing Health Promotion, Fit Feet, and Healthy Hearing. In addition to this, Healthy Athletes welcomed 17 new health volunteers, established a new clinic on the east side, and gained a new clinical director. These accomplishments will support our mission to expand the reach of Healthy Athletes, providing more inclusive and accessible healthcare to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout our state—and we can’t wait to turn this dream into reality!
The 2023 State Fall Games served as a touching reminder of the power that sports have to unite us all, and we are beyond proud of everything our athletes have accomplished, both on and off the playing field.