Hometown hero heads to 2018 Special Olympics USA Games

Devon Adelman has a lot riding on her shoulders as she heads into the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games. Not only is she a competitor, but she is an official ambassador for the Games. She’s also something of an ambassador for the city of Seattle, which will host the Games this summer. But Devon, 21, shows no signs of stress under all this pressure, a testament to her strength, resolve, and the support she has. Devon is quick to acknowledge the value relationships have played in getting her this far, and making the hard work worth it.

In making her Special Olympics debut, Devon will be supported by her team, Special Olympics Washington; her family and friends; and all of Kaiser Permanente Washington, the Official Health Partner of the USA Games and where her father practices as a surgeon.

Stand up paddle boarder at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games

Devon competes in many sports, from soccer to skiing, but for the 2018 USA Games in July she will be in the water for stand up paddle boarding. SUP, as it’s often called, sounds pretty straightforward: you paddle a board on water, while standing up. But the sport demands strength and balance. “It’s a pretty great core workout,” Devon said.

It’s also a test of dedication and motivation: Seattle has plenty of water to practice on, but if you’re waiting for perfect weather to get out, your training program is going to have some gaps. But Devon has learned to look beyond the challenges, always looking instead to “possibility.”

A tireless advocate

And with Devon, there is no limit to the possibility. Devon serves as a leader on multiple organizations advocating for people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities, and has an impressive résumé as a public speaker. In 2015, Devon delivered a keynote address to the United Nations in New York for World Down Syndrome Day. She followed that with a trip to the White House, where she met with former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, representing the Global Down Syndrome Foundation.

She is a recent graduate of the Highline College Achieve program, which helped fuel her passion for marine biology, which motivated her to volunteer at the Seattle Aquarium. This summer, she and her family obtained their scuba certifications as PADI Divers. Devon has now become one of the first people with Down syndrome to do so.

Even as her responsibilities as a Special Olympics athlete and ambassador ramp up, Devon continues to intern at Children’s Hospital in Seattle, and is now employed at Universal Cells in Seattle.

Devon’s pursuit of possibilities has taken her around the world and filled her life with meaningful relationships. She points to these connections as her inspiration, and the greatest reward of Special Olympics. “It brings people together,” Devon said, noting that the people she has met through sports have become lifelong friends. That includes Devon’s friends, Seahawks legends, Jordan Babineaux and Ray Roberts.

Join us at the Games

This summer, the 2018 USA Games will bring 3,000 athletes from around the nation for days of sport, health, and community — a celebration of living passionately and the pursuit of possibility. “Don’t miss the Games,” Devon said. “It’s going to be life-changing.”

The 2018 USA Games run from July 1 to 6, 2018 in Seattle, featuring a host of sports, events, and world-class competition that are not to be missed. Seattle is the largest city to host the USA games in honor of Special Olympics 50th anniversary. To extend the spirit of inclusion, Special Olympics and Kaiser Permanente encourage volunteering at the 2018 USA Games, a great way to watch the world-class competition and celebrate sport, health, and community.

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