Minnesota to Host 2026 Special Olympics USA – WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota will host the 2026 U.S. Special Olympics, the governor announced Friday.

The announcement was made at a press conference at the University of Minnesota. Minnesota beat out three other states in a year-long bidding process.

“I am pleased to announce that Minnesota will host the 2026 Special Olympics USA Games here in Minnesota,” Governor Tim Walz said.

EXTRA WEB: Governor Walz Announces Minnesota to Host Special Olympics

Billed as the nation’s biggest sporting event in 2026, the Special Olympics will be held at the University of Minnesota and other venues in the Twin Cities. Organizers believe it will bring in $70 million to Minnesota from visitors from all 50 states, Canada and the Caribbean.

The Twin Cities will host approximately 4,000 Special Olympics athletes and approximately 10,000 volunteers. Fifteen hundred coaches and around 75,000 fans are also expected.

“The games in Minnesota will give us the opportunity to show that this is a state where every person can thrive in what they do,” Walz said.

“And I’m sure our state will provide an unparalleled, competitive and community spirit for athletes, coaches and all things gaming,” said Dave Dorn, CEO of Special Olympics Minnesota.

The Games will include 15 Olympic teams and individual sports as well as five demonstration sports.

“Special Olympics is much more than sport. It’s about inclusion,” said athlete Jenna Perkins.

Perkins is a senior at Orono High School. She is thrilled that her fellow athletes have the chance to compete on the biggest stage, in their own backyard.

“We are so proud that Minnesota is part of the inclusion revolution,” Perkins said.

Organizers say activities will begin tomorrow across the state, to help promote the 2026 Special Olympics.

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