Special Olympics World Winter Games PyeongChang 2013 begins with torch lighting
CHAD WISE / Sports Features Communications
January 19 – The Flame of Hope for the Special Olympics World Winter Games PyeongChang 2013 was lit on Thursday, in a ceremony presided over by the President of Special Olympics Hellas (Greece), Mrs. Joanna Despotopoulo.
The torch was formally-lit along the lines of the original torch lighting of the Olympics at Appeion Megaron in Athens, Greece. The torch was lit by the sun’s rays, as tradition constituted.
The next step for the Flame of Hope will be a trip to Seoul, South Korea, where the Law Enforcement Torch Run’s final leg will start on January 21.
The Flame of Hope will travel across towns and cities throughout Korea until it reaches the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics World Winter Games in PyeongChang on January 29.
Representative of the Prime Minister Yiannis Ioannidis, Athens Mayor George Kaminis, Chairman and CEO of the Special Olympics Dr. Timothy P. Shriver, and Chair of the Special Olympics World Winter Games PyeongChang 2013 Organizing Committee Na Kyung Won each gave an address at the Torch Lighting Ceremony.
Special Olympics Korea athlete Kim Min Young and Special Olympics Hellas athlete Dimitris Klabanis were handed the Flame of Hope by Chairwoman Na after it was lit.
An international team of 133 members, including 95 Law Enforcement Officer runners, ten Special Olympics athletes, and support personnel who will serve as the Guardians of the Flame make up the Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg Team.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run is celebrating its 32nd Anniversary this year, and is the movement’s largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle.
More than 100,000 international law enforcement officers have carried the Flame of Hope to the Opening Ceremonies of local and state/provincial Special Olympics competitions and Games, and Special Olympics World Summer or Winter Games.
Stopping in more than 40 cities and towns, the Flame of Hope will honor the spirit of the Special Olympics global movement and deliver a message of hope to communities where people with intellectual disabilities continue to fight for acceptance and a chance to excel without barriers during its thousands of kilometres trip to PyeongChang.
The cauldron at the Opening Ceremony of the World Games will be lit by the torch on January 29.
Beginning with the first Games in 1968, thousands of Special Olympics athletes come together to show their athletic skills and celebrate the spirit of Special Olympics in alternating World Summer and World Winter Games.
The Games have evolved into a world-class sporting event and bring public attention to the talents and capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities. The World Games is the culmination of more than 50,000 competitions that happen at all levels of Special Olympics throughout the year.
Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy and friendship.
The 11th Special Olympics World Winter Games will run from January 29 to February 5 in PyeongChang, South Korea.
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