Closing Ceremony: Special Olympics USA Games 'an experience of a lifetime'

SEATTLE -- A week celebrating the spirit of competition and inclusion culminated Friday night at the closing ceremony for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games.

At Seattle's Lake Union Park, it was a night of music and festivities as 4,000 athletes and coaches from across the country were honored for their successes.

A touching moment occurred when two men, one from Bremerton, traded jerseys after competing with their teams for the gold medal in Unified Softball -- that's a sport that pairs people with intellectual disabilities and those without. And they spoke about it afterward.

"To have all of these delegates from all over the United States to come -- Alaska, Hawaii -- and everybody to get together," said Bruce Andersen of Team Washington Unified Softball. "I've met so many friends here. It's just been an experience of a lifetime."

Gunnar Magley, of Team Washington Soccer, said, "It's really exciting. You meet a lot of new people here and it's really fun playing soccer and meeting new friends."

For many of these athletes, it will be another four years before they see each other again.

The 2022 USA Games will be held in Orlando, Florida, at Walt Disney World and will include athletes from the Caribbean.