Seattle Seahawks rookie linebacker Shaquem Griffin will serve as co-Grand Marshal for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games Parade of Athletes, the Special Olympics USA Games announced Monday.
Griffin, who had his left hand amputated when he was 4 years old as a result of amniotic band syndrome, a congenital disorder that kept his hand from proper development, was selected by the Seahawks in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. In what was one of the draft's biggest stories, Griffin, the AAC Defensive Player of the Year at UCF last season, was reunited at the professional level with his twin brother, Shaquill, who was drafted by Seattle a year earlier.
"It's unexplainable, the emotions, everything that was going through my mind," Shaquem said this past April of his draft-day call. "It was crazy. I had a feeling, but the chances are really low, so just to be able to be there. I couldn't ask for anything in the world to have an opportunity to be back with my brother."
Shaquem and his inspiring story will now be part of an impressive Opening Ceremony lineup at this year's Special Olympics USA Games, which will take place July 1-7 across the Seattle area and feature more than 4,000 Special Olympics athletes and coaches from around the nation in competition in 14 team and individual sports. Serving as co-Grand Marshal alongside Shaquem at the Parade of Athletes will be Tim Corrigan, a 75-year-old Special Olympics athlete who competed in the very first Special Olympics games back in 1968.
"We're really excited to add these talented performers to an already impressive lineup," said Jayme Powers, Executive Producer and COO for the Special Olympics USA Games. "The Opening Ceremony will provide a powerful way to kick-off the USA Games by creating a once-in-a-lifetime entertainment experience for all of our athletes, volunteers and spectators."
The Opening Ceremony will be broadcast live on ABC starting at 12:30 p.m. PT on Sunday, July 1 from University of Washington's Husky Stadium. For more information, including how to purchase tickets, head to SpecialOlympicsUSAGames.org.