What is USA Games?
The Special Olympics USA Games is a premier, national sports competition that showcases the power and joy of sports at the highest levels. USA Summer Games are held every four years. USA Winter Games are not offered.
The USA Games have taken place in: Ames, Iowa (2006); Lincoln, Nebraska (2010); Lawrenceville, New Jersey (2014); and Seattle, Washington (2018). Now, in its fifth running, the next Special Olympics USA Games will take place in Orlando in June 2022.
ATHLETE AND COACH SELECTION PROCESS FOR USA GAMES
(subject to change)
The next USA Games will be in the summer of 2022. The 2021 Special Olympics Illinois state championship level tournaments will serve as the qualifying events for most sports being contested at the 2022 USA Games.
USA GAMES SLOTS
The Games Organizing Committee (GOC) determines the sports offered and number of athlete slots, by gender and category, in each of these sports. The GOC allows each State Program to submit a quota request for slots. State Programs must identify specific categories and gender as part of the quota process. State Programs are required to stay within their assigned categories and gender when filling slots.
Special Olympics Illinois (SOILL) attempts to vary requested slots each Games to allow for a variety of athletes to have the opportunity to advance to USA Games. SOILL always requests male and female slots in swimming, track & field, bowling and bocce – these are the most popular sports for both genders and most age groups. Other sport slot requests are based on interest at the state events and sports and categories assigned from previous USA Games. SOILL’s typical team size is 50 athletes/Unified partners.
The GOC reviews quota requests and does their best to give each State Program what they request. If requests exceed available slots, then the GOC makes quota cuts. State level qualifying events are identified after SOILL receives its final quota.
INDIVIDUAL SPORT SLOTS
SOILL uses a similar process as the GOC to allow all 11 Regions a fair chance to fill slots. For individual sport slots, Regions are asked what sport(s) they would like to have and which categories and genders within the sport they could fill. A part of this process is also looking at the slots Regions had at previous Games to provide a variety of slots for all Regions. SOILL then assigns slots to each Region that allows every Region to have an equal number of slots. Excess slots or slots returned by Regions are then assigned to other Regions based on the number of registered athletes in those Regions allowing the larger Regions first right of refusal for extra slots.
TEAM SPORT SLOTS
SOILL uses a nomination process for team sports. Nominated athletes must be on a team that competes in the sport at the state tournament identified as the qualifying event. Local coaches may nominate as many athletes from their team as are appropriate. SOILL utilizes a selection committee to evaluate and observe nominees throughout the tournament. The committee chooses the final team members and identifies alternates. There are no restrictions that limit the number of athletes selected from a Region.
SOILL selects USA Games coaches. Applicants must complete and submit an application. Eligible candidates are interviewed. The interview committee makes final decisions regarding coaches and alternate coaches. Coaches must be certified in the sport(s) they apply to coach.