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Minnesota to host Special Olympics USA Games in 2026

Roughly 115,000 people are expected to travel to the state for the event, which is projected to bring in $70 million in economic impact.

Volunteers at the Special Olympics
Tim Blazevic, left, and Steph Fehringer talk with organizer Pat Stojevich about the Special Olympics schedule in Duluth in this 2017 file photo.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
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MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota leaders on Friday, May 6, announced that the state would play host to the Special Olympics USA Games in 2026.

During a news conference at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus, Gov. Tim Walz said the state had been chosen to host the games that take place once every four years. Roughly 115,000 people are expected to travel to the state for the event, which is projected to bring in $70 million in economic impact.

"The games being in Minnesota will give us an opportunity to showcase that this is a state where every single person can thrive in what they do," Walz said.

The games are set to take place on the University of Minnesota campus and athletes, family members and others will stay in campus housing during the event.

Athletes from every state, along with participants from Canada and the Caribbean are expected to attend the 2026 games. And the state is set to send its largest delegation ever to Orlando for the 2022 games in June.

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"Our athletes will be bringing back the torch for us for 2026," said Dave Dorn, president and CEO of Special Olympics Minnesota. "We've got four years to start creating events and celebrating organizations that promote inclusion and the gift of what that brings to not only schools but also to the community."

Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter  @bydanaferguson , call 651-290-0707 or email  dferguson@forumcomm.com.

Dana Ferguson is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. Ferguson has covered state government and political stories since she joined the news service in 2018, reporting on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the divided Statehouse and the 2020 election.
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