The local program of Special Olympics Indiana, Ripley Ohio Dearborn Counties, is sending four athletes to compete in the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games. The USA Games will take place from July 1 to July 7 in Seattle, Wash. The athletes will participate as members of Special Olympics Indiana’s 73-member team.

David Paul, Milan, will compete as a member of Team Indiana’s two-member powerlifting team. Alex Kieffer, Versailles, and Unified Partner Abby Kieffer, Versailles, will compete as members of Team Indiana’s four-member Unified bowling team. Special Olympics Unified Sports teams people with and without intellectual disabilities. Charlie Wilson, Aurora, will compete as a member of Team Indiana’s six-member swim team. The four have been training since last August for the national competition.

“We are very excited and honored to have such great local athlete representation on Team Indiana,” said Greg Townsend, Program Coordinator of Special Olympics Indiana – Ripley Ohio Dearborn Counties, adding “These athletes and their local coaches [Jesse Laub, David Baugh, Tim Paul, and Jeanette Mattingly] have trained hard, attended training camps and raised funds for their trip over the past eleven months.”

The Special Olympics USA Games are held every four years and offer competition in 14 sports. All members of Team Indiana are selected based on their performance in the final state competition.

The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will showcase the awe-inspiring abilities of thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities, promote the ideals of acceptance and inclusion through sport, and celebrate the transformative power of Special Olympics. Seattle will welcome 3,500 athletes from across the United States. An estimated 10,000 family members and 50,000 fans will also be in attendance.

ESPN’s coverage of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle will begin July 1 with a live two-and-a-half hour special on ABC capturing the inspiration, pageantry, performances and special guests of the USA Games Opening Ceremony. Kevin Negandhi will host ESPN’s coverage of the Opening Ceremony, and will anchor its nightly coverage throughout the Games. Monday, July 2 through Friday, July 6, Negandhi will host 2018 Special Olympics USA Games each night on ESPN2, bringing viewers the stories, competition showcase, interviews and more from Seattle each evening.

The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will also mark the beginning of an extended period of Special Olympics related coverage by ESPN, followed by coverage celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics and culminating in ESPN’s coverage of the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games, in Abu Dhabi in March.

For more information about 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle and Team Indiana’s competition schedule visit

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