Over 1,400 athletes ready for Special Olympics Summer Games

The Olympic flame comes to the State Capitol after traveling nearly 2,000 miles.

The “Flame of Hope,” which will light the Special Olympics Cauldron, will arrive at the State Capitol this Friday where more than 75 Richmond-area officers and servicemembers will carry it the final leg of its journey.

Check it out

You can find a a full list of events along with their times and locations here.

If you can’t make it out to any of the events, you can watch online, live here.

The event will begin with a 10am ceremony where Special Olympics athlete Will Daniel will present the torch to the runners completing the final leg: officers from the Richmond Police Department, the Department of Corrections, and the Virginia Capitol Police. “It’s an incredible event to watch and experience,” said Holly Claytor, Director of Public Relations for Special Olympics Virginia.

The torch has traveled more than 1,900 miles, and its arrival will mark the commencement of festivities for the 2012 Special Olympics Virginia Summer Games, during which more than 1,400 athletes from the Commonwealth will compete in powerlifting, swimming, track and field, softball, tennis, and bowling.

“It’s a chance for the officers to pay homage to their heroes, the athletes, and for us to say thank you to the officers for their 27 years of support,” Claytor said.

The University of Richmond will host Special Olympics Virginia June 8th-9th. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the event, and a special 30th-anniversary torch will be presented to University of Richmond President Ed Ayers. To celebrate the landmark anniversary a new cauldron will hold the ever-burning Olympic flame.

“The steel cauldron, which was made especially for Special Olympics Virginia by Twoseven, a creatively-led design firm located in Brooklyn, New York, replaces our 20+ year old cauldron, and will allow us to keep the Flame of Hope shining for our athletes for years to come,” Claytor said.

The summer games will also have a special Volunteer to Cheer crowd of more than 1,500 participants. “Volunteer to Cheer is a chance to learn more about Special Olympics, and also a fun, family-friendly and free opportunity to cheer on some incredible athletes,” Claytor said.

Athletes will gather again at 7:30pm Saturday at the Robins Center for the closing ceremony and victory dance.

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Stephen Nielsen

Stephen Nielsen is a contributing journalist for RVANews and makes a mean pulled pork sandwich.

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