Back in 2018, Xbox hosted the first video gaming tournament at Special Olympics USA Games that were held in Seattle, Washington. Special Olympics athletes from four states competed head-to-head at the University of Washington and showed us the passion that existed for such an event. We were inspired. That inspiration kept us connected to the Special Olympics organization, so when they were looking to adapt and find innovative ways to support their athletes during these stay-at-home orders, we realized there was an opportunity for us to partner and create something amazing…again! This year, Microsoft and Special Olympics are teaming up for the 2020 Special Olympics Xbox Virtual Gaming Event featuring Turn 10 Studios’ Forza Motorsport 7.
As long-standing partners, Microsoft and Special Olympics have been working together since 2014 with the goal of empowering Special Olympics athletes and Programs through technology. Throughout the partnership, technologies such as Xbox and Microsoft Teams have been tools to bring adults and children with intellectual disabilities together in the face of a host of obstacles – from the current need for physical distancing to the ongoing logistical challenges of fostering a globally dispersed community. Learn more about our partnership at Microsoft In Culture.
With athletic training and competitions currently postponed due to COVID-19, Special Olympics are looking for new ways to connect, compete, and just have fun. Enveloping this event will be stories of the athletes themselves – allowing a broad fanbase to know who they are, what they care about, how they are feeling – and cheer them on as they discover new community and excitement in playing Forza Motorsport 7. Eleven states will be represented in this year’s event with over 35 athletes participating.
In this spirited, livestreamed event, fans, families, and friends are all invited to celebrate Special Olympics athletes and help combat isolation. Join the experience by watching livestreamed Forza Motorsport 7 racing on Mixer, Xbox YouTube, or Twitch. Also, join us for a first-ever, global Special Olympics award ceremony in Minecraft. The tournament is scheduled for May 30, 2020 and will begin at 12:00 p.m. PT / 3:00 p.m. ET.
Interested in supporting Special Olympics? You can learn more about volunteering, or you can donate your Microsoft Rewards points. Special Olympics will be available for Rewards points redemption on web and console via the Microsoft Rewards app. Microsoft will match all point donations through June 30, 2020. We’re also encouraging everyone to visit our Flipgrid board to leave Special Olympics athletes messages of encouragement and to cheer them on to victory!