Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run
Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Deputies and Special Olympics Athletes run the Special Olympics Torch across Santa Cruz County on June 18, 2010. The torch, known as the "Flame of Hope" is carried by law enforcement and Special Olympics Athletes through 21 Northern California Counties by more than 500 officers to commemorate the official Special Olympics Northern California Summer Games at the University of California at Davis on June 25-27. Approximately 1,000 selected athletes of all ages with developmental disabilities will compete in the games. The summer games include sports competition in volleyball, bocce, aquatics, tennis as well as track and field.
Special Olympics was founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver. The Law Enforcement Torch Run began in 1981 and now encompasses all 50 states and over 30 foreign countries. Its purpose is to raise awareness and fund Special Olympics Athletes. The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for all developmentally disabled children and adults. The programs offer them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in sharing of gifts, skills and friendships with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. Developing the athletes' physical, social, psychological, intellectual and spiritual qualities is the basis for everything that is done in Special Olympics.
In Northern California, more that 14,000 persons with developmental disabilities participate in local, regional, state, national and international competitions. The programs are offered at no expense to all eligible athletes and are made possible by generous financial contributions from the community as well as the dedication of many volunteers.
Local law enforcement agencies including the Sheriff's Office, Scotts Valley Police Department, UCSC Police Department, Santa Cruz Police Department, Capitola Police Department, Watsonville Police Department, Harbor Port District Police, State Parks, and District Attorney's Office participate in the law enforcement torch run. Local law enforcement also participates at the games by being a part of opening ceremonies and awarding athletes with medals during competitions. Visit Special Olympics Northern California online at www.sonc.org for further information.