The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games have officially kicked off in Seattle.

More than 4,000 athletes from across the country will compete in 14 sports at the Husky Stadium over the next week. Among those include 37 athletes representing Team Alaska. 

At the opening ceremony, former Seattle Supersonics' player Gary Payton introduced Alaska's very own track and field athlete, Ayesha Abdul-Jillil to lead the athletes in an athlete oath. 

“The Alaska spirit shown bright as our delegation marched into Husky Stadium with pride. Team Alaska is ready to compete and excited to showcase the power of sports and inclusion to the world,” said Special Olympics Alaska President/CEO Nicolle Egan.

Athletes, volunteers and fans were entertained by performances by music artists like Charlie Puth and Marshmello, on Sunday.  

Competition kicks off Monday with unified basketball, golf, bowling, track and swimming.

This year marks the event's 50th-anniversary promoting acceptance and inclusion through sports for people with intellectual disabilities.  

The games run from July 1-6.

John Thompson contributed to this story. 

Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.


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