The Flame of Hope symbolizes the Special Olympics goal: shining a light on the talents and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities. On May 14, 2015, the Flame of Hope was lit at a special ceremony in Greece. It was then passed to Law Enforcement Torch Runners in their role as Guardians of the Flame to ensure that the Flame of Hope stayed lit as it traveled across the Atlantic Ocean and in the first ever cross-county Unified Relay Across America until it reaches it’s final resting place at the World Games in Los Angeles.
On May 21, 2015, the Flame of Hope was split into three flames – kicking off a 46-day, cross-country relay to Los Angeles on July 25th. The Unified Relay Across America is bringing awareness to the Special Olympics movement, and creating communities where everyone is included and respected. To show our support for Special Olympics, Strider Sports International along with athletes from the Black Hills Ups of Downs Family Support Group donated and participated in what has become the Special Olympics largest grass roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle.
With 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games.
Photos from our leg in the Unified Relay, special thanks to Rapid City Police Department for keeping us safe and being our own Guardians of the Flame!