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WASHINGTON, July 26 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- The Flame of Hope(TM) for
the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games arrived in Washington, D.C.,
where it was officially greeted by President George W. Bush and First Lady
Laura Bush in a White House ceremony. The flame was then carried through
the streets of the nation's capital by a team of Special Olympics athletes
and law enforcement personnel to begin the U.S. segment of the global Law
Enforcement Torch Run(R) event. The event took place on the anniversary of
the Americans with Disabilities Act which was signed into law by President
George H.W. Bush in 1990.
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The Flame of Hope's arrival in Washington, D.C, the fourth stop of its
22,000-mile journey across the world, was facilitated by DHL, the world's
largest express delivery and logistics company. The global Law Enforcement
Torch Run honors the spirit of the Special Olympics movement and the
courage of its athletes and is a signature event leading up to the 2007
Special Olympics World Summer Games which take place from 2-11 October in
"This Flame of Hope symbolizes the hopes of millions. I am proud to
salute this special group of athletes-Team USA. I have long been a friend
of Special Olympics and I have been inspired by the courage and
determination of our athletes. The promise of this country belongs to every
citizen and we are proud Special Olympics began right here in America,"
said President Bush.
"The Flame of Hope has come a great distance and so have we in our
39-year history -- every day 2.5 million Special Olympics athletes around
the world compete to be their best," said Timothy Shriver, chairman of
Special Olympics International. "This is not a movement of pity or sadness,
this is a movement of hope and this flame is a symbol of that hope. Today's
event at the White House is historic for our movement and a tribute to the
courage and dedication of our athletes."
Following the White House ceremony, the Law Enforcement Torch Run(R)
event itself took place over a seven-mile route through the city, passing
the National Mall, the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial,
concluding at the Embassy for the People's Republic of China.
"The law enforcement community is committed and honored to support
Special Olympics at every opportunity, and the partnership we have had with
Special Olympics for 26 years has truly made a difference in the lives of
thousands of Special Olympics athletes," said Major Michael Teem, an
officer with the Raleigh, North Carolina Police Department and chair of the
Law Enforcement Torch Run Executive Council. "We are excited to be a part
of the events in Washington, D.C. and continuing our role as guardians of
the Flame of Hope."
The Flame of Hope(TM) torch was lit on 29 June at a ceremony at the
sacred site of Pnyx near the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, marking the start
of a global journey to the site of the World Games in Shanghai, China. The
transportation of the flame was supported by the logistics expertise of
DHL, the Official Transporter of the Flame of Hope for the 2007 Special
Olympics World Summer Games.
"Sponsoring and supporting the global Law Enforcement Torch Run for the
2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games provides DHL with a unique
opportunity to leverage the resources of its network provide the flexible
and creative logistics solutions," said Hans Hickler, CEO, DHL Express,
USA. "Engineering a solution to transport the flame has not only promoted
our customer-responsive culture at DHL, it provides a wonderful opportunity
for DHL to demonstrate that we are a socially responsible business leader
caring about important initiatives like Special Olympics."
While the Law Enforcement Torch Run has been a Special Olympics
tradition for more than 25 years, this marks the first time the Flame of
Hope has traveled the globe in a single event. Transported via DHL's global
logistics network and then carried by torch on the ground by teams of
athletes and law enforcement personnel from around the world, the flame
will eventually travel across five continents before arriving in Shanghai,
where it will ignite the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony of the Special
Olympics 2007 World Summer Games on 2 October.
The flame will next make its way to Seoul, Tokyo and Sydney. The final
leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run will include stops in Beijing, Hong
Kong, Macau, and 11 cities in China as well as the 19 districts of
Shanghai, where it will be carried by more than 200 law enforcement
officers from around the world.
The 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai will host
almost 7,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities from more than 160
countries and territories.
Following the 2007 World Games, the "Flame of Hope" will reside at a
DHL facility as a tribute to Special Olympics athletes. DHL will also
sponsor the global Law Enforcement Torch Run in 2009, when the Flame of
Hope will again be lit in Athens and transported by DHL to the 2009 Special
Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho, USA.
The Olympic torch was lit in Athens for the first time in 1896, and
today continues to serve as a symbol of strength and determination for
athletes from around the world. Special Olympics recently announced its
2011 World Summer Games will be held in Athens.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is an international nonprofit organization dedicated
to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become
physically fit, productive and respected members of society through sports
training and competition. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver,
Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and competition to 2.5
million adults and children with intellectual disabilities across 165
countries and territories. The Special Olympics movement offers one of the
world's greatest platforms for acceptance and inclusion for all
people-regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or cultural differences.
Find out how you can become involved at www.specialolympics.org.
About the Law Enforcement Torch Run
The Law Enforcement Torch Run has been a Special Olympics tradition for
more than 25 years. It began in 1981 when Wichita, Kansas, Police Chief
Richard LaMunyon saw a need to raise funds and increase awareness for the
organization, and conceived the Torch Run as a way to involve local law
enforcement personnel in the community and to support Special Olympics
Kansas. The program was later adopted by the International Association of
Chiefs of Police and under their support and leadership has expanded into
all 50 U.S. states and to 35 nations and territories. The Law Enforcement
Torch Run is Special Olympics' largest grass-roots fundraiser and public
awareness vehicle; more than 85,000 law enforcement officers from around
the world volunteer for the movement.
DHL is the global market leader of the international express and
logistics industry, specializing in providing innovative and customized
solutions from a single source. DHL offers expertise in express, air and
ocean freight, overland transport, and contract logistic solutions as well
as international mail services, combined with worldwide coverage and an
in-depth understanding of local markets. DHL's international network links
more than 225 countries and territories worldwide with over 300,000
employees dedicated to providing fast and reliable services that exceed
customers' expectations. DHL is a Deutsche Post World Net brand. The group
generated revenues of more than EUR 60 billion in 2006. For more
information on DHL, please visit www.dhl.com.
SOURCE Special Olympics