- Published on 14 May 2015
On Thursday, 14 May, The Special Olympics flame of hope is ignited in Athens where it begins its historic journey to the United States for the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles with the participation of 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 - being staged in Los Angeles July 25 - August 2, 2015 - 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
The Flame of Hope will then begin its trans-Atlantic journey via UPS Airlines, which will transport the Flame of Hope to Washington, D.C., in time for the start of the Special Olympics Unified Relay Across, which will kick off on May 26.
Once the Flame of Hope arrives in Washington, D.C., members of law enforcement will continue their role as the Guardians of the Flame and will light three torches that will be taken across the United States in three simultaneous routes starting on 26 May in Augusta, Maine; Miami, Florida; and Washington, D.C. The Flame of Hope will visit communities in all 50 states as part of the Unified Relay Across America, where people will be invited to run, walk and bike with the Flame of Hope in a hand-to-hand exchange relay. Traveling west, all three routes will become unified in Los Angeles on 10 July. Along each route, welcoming ceremonies and community celebrations will take place nightly with musical performances, celebrity guests and Unified Sports Experiences. At the conclusion of the Unified Relay, the Flame of Hope will be handed over to the 2015 Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Final Leg Team, it will travel for 13 days to more than 120 cities and towns throughout California, honoring the spirit of the Special Olympics global movement and delivering a message of hope to communities where people with intellectual disabilities continue to fight for acceptance and inclusion.
The relay will culminate at the Opening Ceremony of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles on 25 July. ESPN, the official broadcast partner of the World Games, will televise the Opening Ceremony live as well as a nightly highlights program throughout the nine-day event.