EDMONTON, AB, May 16, 2017- Burning bright on the steps of the Alberta Legislature building, the Flame of Hope was lit and carried off on a course to cities across Alberta.
On May 16 at noon, Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) officers paired with Special Olympics athletes from Calgary, Camrose, Edmonton, Lacombe, St. Albert, Strathcona County and West Central, stood proudly to witness the torch lighting of the Special Olympics Flame of Hope on the steps of the Alberta Legislature signalling the start of the LETR Final Leg which will spread awareness for the 2017 Special Olympics Alberta Summer Games taking place in Medicine Hat this summer.
“More than 1,300 athletes and coaches will be competing in 11 sports in our city’s best sport facilities,” said Brian Varga, Special Olympics Alberta Summer Games Chair and Medicine Hat’s City Councillor.
“We are ready to roll out the welcome mat to all the excited fans, partners and families cheering in the stands.”
Emceeing the event, the Speaker of the House, Honourable Robert E. Wanner began the ceremony talking about the great significance of the partnership of Law Enforcement Torch Run as the Guardians of the Flame for Special Olympics and the symbolic power of the Flame of Hope which will officially start the Medicine Hat Games on July 7.
“For Special Olympics, this flame is the Flame of Hope which is entrusted in the care of the Law Enforcement Torch Run symbolizing the courage and celebration of diversity that the Special Olympics movement represents. We light the Flame of Hope to kick off the Final Leg journey of the torch to communities across Alberta and its delivery to Medicine Hat,” said Honourable Robert E. Wanner.
Honourable Wanner was joined by government officials: Minister of Culture and Tourism, Honourable Ricardo Miranda, M.L.A. Leela Aheer, M.L.A. Ric McIver and law enforcement members: Deputy Chief Sheriff James Stiles with Alberta Sheriffs, acting Deputy Chief Debbie Jolly with Edmonton Police Service and Inspector Peter Ormshaw Executive Officer to the Commanding Officer for Alberta RCMP. Alberta Sport Connection’s chair Andrew Ference spoke on the power of sport and Special Olympics athlete, Neil Ivan shared his inspiring journey and led all the Special Olympics athletes to recite the Special Olympics athlete oath.
“Thank you to everyone who came to witness this momentous event to kick off the journey of the torch and a celebration of Special Olympics athletes competing at the Summer Games. We are incredibly grateful for all the support from the Government of Alberta, law enforcement members, Alberta Sport Connection and many partners who spread our inspiring movement,”
said Special Olympics Alberta board chair, Wilma Shim.
The Flame of Hope was passed to Cst. Amanada Trenchard with Edmonton Police Service and Special Olympics athlete, Jessica McLean and was carried off to begin its journey to six communities in Alberta which includes the final destination of Medicine Hat.
“The Final Leg is not just local, it is part of a global movement,” said Deputy Chief Sheriff, James Stiles.
“The flame that is carried into our Provincial Games will be carried to the Special Olympics National Games next July in Nova Scotia by one of our members. That flame will then be brought by our Canadian LETR members and become part of the Final Leg for the 2019 World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi.”
- June 2: Calgary Final Leg at 6 p.m., Calgary Traffic Section, 6528 11 St. NW, Calgary to Thorncliffe Greenview Community
- June 17: Edmonton Final Leg at 11 a.m., Edmonton Police SW Division, 1351 Windermere Way SW to Cabela’s, 6150 Currents Dr. NW
- June 25: Red Deer Final Leg at 1 p.m. at Collicutt Centre, 3031 30 Ave.
- June 28: Lethbridge Final Leg at 11 a.m. at City Hall, 910 4th Ave. South to Galt Gardens 601 3 Ave. S.
- July 7: Medicine Final Leg, TBD
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.
Special Olympics Alberta would like to thank, Mr. Lube, the presenting sponsor of the 2017 LETR Final Leg. Their valuable partnership spreads awareness for our Special Olympics Summer Games.
You can get more information about the 2017 LETR Final Leg events at www.albertatorchrun.ca/ and the 2017 Special Olympics Alberta Summer Games at www.medicinehat2017.ca. Follow the action on social media #FinalLegAB17 #MedicineHat2017 with @SpecialOAlberta and @Alberta_LETR.
Photos of the Torch Lighting Ceremony can be found on Special Olympics Alberta Flickr account.