‘Torch Of Hope’ On Its Way To Columbus

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Close to a dozen Special Olympic athletes and local law enforcement personnel made their way down Court Street Thursday morning as part of Athens leg of the 2014 Torch Run which benefits Special Olympics.

The Ohio Law Enforcement Torch run is the single largest grassroots fund-raising program for Special Olympics Ohio and benefits its more than 23,000 athletes.

“What we do is try and raise awareness about Special Olympics,” and how it impacts Special Olympic athletes and their families and focuses on the abilities and not the disabilities,” Steve Noftz said. 

The Athens leg is one of five that start in various parts of the state and come together in Columbus for the Opening Ceremonies on Friday of the Special Olympic Summer Games. The other main legs start in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Marietta and Toledo.

“Tomorrow evening we will gather at the Highway Patrol Academy,” Noftz said. “All the legs start at the patrol stadium where we will run en masse to Jesse Owen stadium where we will pass off the torch to the athletes for lighting the cauldron for the opening ceremonies.”

The Opening Ceremonies begin at 7 p.m. Friday. More than 2,500 athletes from 65 of Ohio’s 88 counties will be competing. All the events of the 2014 Special Olympics Summer Games are free.