Lit in Chicago, the iconic torch will make its way to Walt Disney World for the games June 5-12
The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, presented by Jersey Mike’s Subs, debuted the Final Leg of the multi-state, two-week tour of the Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR). Members of law enforcement and Special Olympics athletes will carry the ignited torch–the Flame of Hope–through major cities down the East Coast as they make their way to Orlando to light the custom-made cauldron during the Opening Ceremony for the USA Games.
“The final countdown to the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games begins with the Final Leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run. We are excited to follow the Flame of Hope as it travels to the long-awaited Opening Ceremony in Orlando,” said Joe Dzaluk, president and CEO of the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. “The Flame of Hope promotes the Special Olympics mission and symbolizes inclusion, courage and diversity. We invite the country to follow the torch on its way to Orlando where it will shine bright during the entirety of the USA Games.”
The LETR Final Leg began its two-week journey in Chicago on Friday, May 20. The Flame of Hope was lit at Soldier Field, the birthplace of Special Olympics, from the eternal flame that burns there honoring the legacy of Eunice Kennedy Shriver. The LETR Final Leg stops along the East Coast include New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Annapolis, Charlotte, Atlanta, Miami, Tampa and more.
Captain Chris Tarmann of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Police Department was selected to represent Special Olympics Wisconsin in this event leading up to the USA Games. Captain Tarmann will take part in various legs of the Final Leg across Western Florida, including tours in Miami, Naples, Port Charlotte, Venice Beach, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Ocala, Citra, Lakeland, downtown Orlando, Kissimmee, and finally to Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista.
During the Final Leg, six Special Olympics athletes will join the law enforcement personnel from across the country to safely deliver the Flame of Hope to Exploria Stadium on Sunday, June 5. The Flame of Hope will ignite a custom-made, never-before-seen cauldron during the Opening Ceremony, which will then reside at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for the duration of the USA Games.
The LETR is Special Olympics’ largest grassroots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle in the world. Nearly 100,000 law enforcement members in all 50 U.S. states, 12 Canadian provinces/territories, and 44 countries annually contribute to LETR Guardians of the Flame®, ensuring the delivery of the Special Olympics Flame of Hope to the Opening Ceremony of local Special Olympics competitions, state/provincial Games, and national/regional Games.
The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, presented by Jersey Mike’s Subs, will bring 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean to Florida for one of the country’s most cherished sporting events. The USA Games is hosted once every four years and, for the first time in its history, will have 19 Olympic-style team and individual sports and 30 events throughout the event. These USA Games will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics Florida.
For more information on the Final Leg Team and the members participating, visit www.letr-finalleg.org.
About the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games
The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games is scheduled for June 5-12, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. Jersey Mike’s Subs is the Presenting Partner, and the event is hosted by Disney. During this magical week, more than 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean will travel to Florida to unite in one of the country’s most cherished sporting events. The USA Games is hosted once every four years and showcases 19 Olympic-style team and individual sports and 30 events throughout the week, including forums and VIP receptions. Website: www.2022USAGames.org.
About the 2022 Law Enforcement Torch Run® Final Leg for the USA Games
The Final Leg tradition is for law enforcement officers, representing their state and Torch Run Program, to act as “Guardians of the Flame” and carry the Special Olympics Torch and the “Flame of Hope” to the Opening Ceremonies of the Special Olympics USA Games. This Torch Run event is called the Final Leg because it represents the culmination of Torch Run events that have occurred previously throughout the country. The Torch Run Final Leg is not only a salute to the athletes from around the country who will compete in the Special Olympics USA Games but also an honor for the participating law enforcement officers and athletes who comprise the unified Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg Team. The Olympic flame symbolizes the light of spirit, knowledge, and life. With identical power and majesty, the Special Olympics “Flame of Hope,” in the entrusted care of the law enforcement community, symbolizes the courage and celebration of diversity that the Special Olympics movement represents. The 2022 Final Leg will precede the Special Olympics USA Games held in Orlando, Florida. The mission of the Final Leg is to create awareness and excitement for Special Olympics, support, and attendance of the USA Games, and involve, inspire, and motivate runners to increase their level of commitment to Special Olympics when they return to their local Programs. The Final Leg Team is comprised of law enforcement runners, Special Olympics athletes, and Logistics Team members from 49 states representing their Law Enforcement Torch Run and Special Olympics programs. Final Leg runners were chosen for their dedication and commitment to the Law Enforcement Torch Run and Special Olympics by their respective Torch Run Programs throughout the country.