Seattle Pacific University Venue Spotlight
BY MIKE GASTINEAU - USA GAMES CORRESPONDENT
The gymnastics competitors at the 2018 USA Special Olympics Games will compete at Seattle Pacific University (SPU) which is appropriate given the school’s history of success in the sport.
“We’ve been competing in gymnastics for a long time,” said SPU Director of Athletics Jackson Stava. “We’re always excited to have fans in our facility and to show off all the championship banners we have.”
The Falcons have won three national team titles and have produced 26 individual national champions and 179 All-Americans. They’ve all competed at the Falcon Gymnastics Center at Royal Brougham Pavilion on the SPU campus which Stava said is the perfect venue for gymnastics.
“Gymnastics is a sport that’s best viewed up close. What these athletes are capable of, the skills they can execute, they are things most of us can’t comprehend being able to physically do. In our facility you get to see that up close. We love that in our facility fans are 10 to 15 feet from the action.”
Stava is also proud of the school’s youth gymnastics program. He said it’s not rare for a kid as young as three or four years old to start working out in the youth program and then end up competing in gymnastics into high school and college.
“I’m excited for all the athletes in our youth program to get to experience the 2018 USA Games. It will also provide a tremendous volunteer opportunity for our SPU student-athletes. We talk about cultivating student athletes who are pursuing excellence in athletes and excellence in academics. We talk all the time about producing people who are going to be impactful in the world after they graduate. Being involved in the games fits perfectly with the mission of Seattle Pacific University.”
Including Seattle Pacific as a host venue for the 2018 Games is a natural extension of the school’s engagement with the local sports community. SPU is the practice facility of the Seattle Storm of the WNBA and each summer plays host to Seattle native and NBA star Jamal Crawford’s summer pro-am basketball tournament The Crossover.
“A lot of great things in the Seattle sports community happen right here,” Stava said. We’re excited for the fans of the 2018 Games to come to SPU and have a great experience. “