Minnesota has been named as the host of the 2026 Special Olympics USA Games.
The announcement was made Friday morning by Gov. Tim Walz and University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel. The event will see around 4,000 athletes from all 50 states, Canada and the Caribbean compete in over 20 sports.
"The Games will bring over 115,000 people to Minnesota, with a projected economic impact of over $70 million," the governor said during the press conference Friday morning.
According to a release, the Games will comprise 15 Olympic-type team and individual sports, as well as five demonstration sports. Competitions will be held at the University of Minnesota and other venues throughout the Twin Cities.
“We are thrilled to welcome the Special Olympics athletes and their families to our world-class University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus in June of 2026,” said Gabel, who is also serving as an honorary co-chair for the event alongside UnitedHealthcare CEO Brian Thompson.
"Our university shares the same goals of the Games in transforming lives through inclusion and celebrating each person’s greatest ability.”
The 2026 event will mark the biggest sporting event in the country that year.
Minnesota famously hosted the International Special Olympics in 1991, when the Metrodome played host to the spectacle seen around the world. According to the Washington Post, as previously reported by Bring Me The Sports, the seven-day event saw an attendance of about 129,000.
This will be the first time the Special Olympics USA Games, which is held every four years, has been in Minnesota. This year's event is being hosted by Orlando.
The first event was held in Ames, Iowa, in 2006, with Lincoln, Nebraska playing the next host in 2010.