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The Flame of Hope

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torch_run.jpgThe Special Olympics Flame of Hope, lit almost three months ago in Athens, Greece, where it began a 37,000 mile voyage across five continents, is scheduled to arrive in Idaho on 29 January in Coeur d'Alene to begin the Final Leg of its journey to the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games.

The Flame of Hope will arrive via Sheriff's boat from Lake Coeur d'Alene to the Coeur d'Alene Resort boat dock where it will be presented to Idaho First Lady, Lori Otter, by a representative from Global Law Enforcement Torch Run® sponsor, DHL. There, a brief ceremony will take place and the Law Enforcement Torch Run® Final Leg will begin its journey across the state of Idaho.

"The Flame of Hope arriving in Idaho is the beginning of the countdown to this monumental event for our state, its communities and the Special Olympics movement," said Chip Fisher, CEO and Chairman of the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games. "Idaho is ready to welcome the world."

The Final Leg Team is made up of an international team of 118 members, which includes 80 Law Enforcement Officer runners, 10 Special Olympics athletes and support personnel, who will serve as Guardians of the Flame® during their journey across Idaho. To symbolize the significant contribution of law enforcement and the inclusion of Special Olympics athletes in this unified Torch Run, the Final Leg Team will conduct extensive runs in towns throughout Idaho to heighten awareness of Special Olympics and the World Games. The Final Leg Team will then safely deliver the Flame of Hope to the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games Opening Ceremony in Nampa, Idaho on 7 February.

Law enforcement officers from nearly every state in the U.S., Canada, Austria, Bulgaria, Chinese Taipei, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Gibraltar, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, New South Wales, Poland, Australia, Turkey and Ukraine will participate in the Law Enforcement Torch Run® Final Leg.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run® is Special Olympics' largest grass-roots fundraiser, raising more than $34 million for Special Olympics programs in 2008 and involving more than 85,000 law enforcement officers in 50 states and 35 countries. DHL is the official sponsor of the Global Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics.

Photograph Copyright: Nils Ribi

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