Torch Run began on May 31 and ends at Summer Games on June 11
LONG BEACH, Calif., June 1, 2011 – Law enforcement officers, Special Olympics athletes, and representatives from government agencies will proudly carry the "Flame of Hope" as a part of the 2011 Law Enforcement Torch Run®.
The Torch Run, which began on May 31, consists of three distinct legs—each with its own torch. Officers will start each leg at a different point in Southern California and follow a unique path. The officers from all three routes will join together at the campus of California State University, Long Beach for the 2011 Special Olympics Southern California Summer Games on June 11 and 12. There the three torches will be "unified" into a single flame that will be used to light the Opening Ceremony cauldron and symbolize the start of the 2011 Summer Games.
"The support we receive from law enforcement is absolutely invaluable. Southern California law enforcement officers raised more than $1 million for our athletes and programs last year. This is a phenomenal achievement and great proof of their dedication to our cause," said Bill Shumard, President and CEO of Special Olympics Southern California. "To our athletes, the law enforcement officers are heroes and role models that bring a positive attitude and morale to our cause."
During the two weeks prior to Summer Games, officers and athletes will run the torch (known as the "Flame of Hope") throughout Southern California. People can watch the torch relay in the following counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.
Below is information on each leg of the Torch Run:
- Southern Leg: Tuesday, May 31, 9:30 a.m., Chula Vista – Torch Lighting Ceremony at the Chula Vista Police Department Memorial Wall (315 4th Avenue, Chula Vista, CA 91910)
- Central Leg: Monday, June 6, 7 a.m., Wilmington – Tesoro Refinery Parking lot (2101 East Pacific Coast Highway, Wilmington, CA 90744)
- Northern Leg: Monday, June 6, 8 a.m., Paso Robles – Paso Robles City Park (11th and Park St., Paso Robles, CA 93446)
In a special tribute to Special Olympics, the Northern Leg of the Torch Run will make a special stop at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier on June 9 at 5 p.m. Pacific Park will light the Ferris wheel in Special Olympics colors, which will remain lit until the Summer Games Closing Ceremony on June 12. In addition, Pacific Park is allowing free entrance and rides to all emergency response personnel on Thursday, June 9 from 5 to 9 p.m.
In all, officers from nearly 300 different law enforcement agencies and the military will take part in carrying the torch more than 1,500 miles. The Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest grassroots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle for Special Olympics worldwide. In 2010, officers raised more than $1.2 million for Special Olympics Southern California. In addition to the Torch Run, money is also raised through activities such as Tip-A-Cops®, Polar Plunges®, Plane Pulls, marathons, and the new Over the Edge event, where individuals will have an opportunity to rappel 16 stories down the Hyatt Regency Long Beach on October 29.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics began in 1981 when Wichita, Kansas, Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw an urgent need to raise funds for and increase awareness of Special Olympics. The international association of Chiefs of Police is the founding law enforcement organization.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics Southern California has been changing lives through the power of sport for more than 40 years. Special Olympics offers opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities to participate in year-round sports training and competition. In addition to Law Enforcement Torch Run, Special Olympics Southern California appreciates the support of its Mission Partners: KTLA, Summit Entertainment, Toyota, The Vons Foundation, and Walmart. For more information about how to compete, coach, or contribute, visit www.sosc.org.