2022 Special Olympics USA Games Announces Florida Stops for the Multi-State, Two Week Law Enforcement Torch Run® Final Leg

The iconic torch will arrive in Orlando after visiting Florida’s prominent destinations and cities

ORLANDO, Fla., May 26, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, presented by Jersey Mike’s Subs, shared the Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR) Final Leg stops for Florida. The Final Leg, which began in Chicago on May 20, is traveling the Midwest and East coast and will arrive in Florida on May 31. It will then travel along both Florida coasts before making its historic and final stop in Orlando, to light a custom-made cauldron to start the Games during the Opening Ceremony on Sunday, June 5.

Members of law enforcement and six Special Olympics athletes are charged with protecting the Flame of Hope during its historic tour.

“The final countdown to the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games begins with the Final Leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run,” said Joe Dzaluk, president and CEO of the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. “The Flame of Hope represents the mission of Special Olympics, symbolizing inclusion, courage and diversity. We invite everyone to follow the Flame of Hope, the dedicated law enforcement officers and Special Olympics athletes serving as its trusted guardians, as they make their way to Orlando for the largest USA Games in history.”

Beginning its two-week journey in Chicago, IL. on May 20, the Flame of Hope ignited the Games’ official hand-crafted torch at Soldier Field, the birthplace of Special Olympics. The LETR Final Leg is currently making stops in cities including New York City, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Washington D.C.; Annapolis, MD; Charlotte, NC; Atlanta, GA; and several cities in Florida. It will arrive in Orlando on Thursday, June 2 at 4:30 p.m.

2022 Special Olympics USA Games Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg

The torch will visit many locations in Florida, the final state on the LETR tour and host location for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, including:

 Tuesday, May 31 
MiamiFTX Arena8:30 a.m.
Miami GardensFlorida Memorial University, Lakefront11:30 a.m.
NaplesNaples Police Department12:30 p.m.
Fort LauderdaleLas Olas Oceanside Park2:00 p.m.
Port CharlotteWilliam R. Gaines Veterans Memorial Park3:00 p.m.
West Palm BeachCentennial Park5:00 p.m.
Venice BeachCentennial Park Gazebo6:00 p.m.
Palm Beach GardensBallenIsles Country Club6:15 p.m.
 Wednesday, June 1 
Fort PierceVeteran’s Memorial Park9:00 a.m.
SarasotaRise & Nye’s Coffee Shop9:00 a.m.
St. PetersburgJabil Headquarters11:15 a.m.
Cape CanaveralCape Kennedy (Photo Opp.)12:00 p.m.
TampaTampa Convention Center, Sail Pavilion1:00 p.m.
DaytonaDaytona International Speedway3:00 p.m.
OcalaHistoric Downtown Square6:00 p.m.
 Thursday, June 2 
JacksonvilleFriendship Fountain8:00 a.m.
OcalaStirrups‘n Strides8:00 a.m.
JacksonvilleFanatics Head Office9:00 a.m.
LakelandPublix Greenwise12:00 p.m.
St. AugustineCastillo de San Marcos12:00 p.m.
OrlandoOrlando City Hall4:30 p.m.
 Friday, June 3 
KissimmeeOsceola County Courthouse9:00 a.m.
OrlandoMagic Kingdom at Walt Disney World11:35 a.m.
OrlandoOrlando Health12:30 p.m.
OaklandOakland Town Square3:30 p.m.
 Saturday, June 4 
OrlandoLake Eola8:45 a.m.
OrlandoOrlando Executive Airport9:30 a.m.
OrlandoExploria Stadium (FINAL RUN)4:45 p.m.

“We are so excited about the arrival of the Flame of Hope and the start of the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games,” said Sherry Wheelock, President and CEO of Special Olympics Florida. “Law enforcement has always stood shoulder-to-shoulder with our athletes, and we are incredibly grateful for their support over the years. Special Olympics Florida is celebrating our 50th anniversary this year, and we are thrilled to host the USA Games and its incredible athletes. The Games will be a celebration of inclusion and a tremendous opportunity for our athletes to show just how remarkable they are.”

The LETR is Special Olympics' largest grassroots fundraiser and public awareness program. Nearly 100,000 law enforcement members in all 50 U.S. states, 12 Canadian provinces/territories, and 44 countries annually contribute to LETR Guardians of the Flame®, ensuring the delivery of the Special Olympics Flame of Hope to the Opening Ceremony of local Special Olympics competitions, state/provincial Games, and the national/regional Games.

The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, presented by Jersey Mike’s Subs, will bring 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean to Florida. The USA Games is hosted once every four years and, for the first time in its history, will have 19 Olympic-style team and individual sports.

The LETR is made possible because of the shared excitement, dedication, and generous support of the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games partners. This year’s LETR partners include Presenting Partner Jersey Mike’s Subs; Automobile Provider Toyota; and Supporting Partners, Special Olympics Georgia, Special Olympics Illinois, Gallagher Bassett and Pacira BioSciences.

Everyone is invited to be a part of the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. Tickets are on sale now for the Opening Ceremony at Exploria Stadium on Sunday, June 5. Volunteer shifts are open for registration. Attendance to the Games competitions is free, and everyone is invited to come out to cheer on the athletes as spectators and fans. To learn more, visit 2022USAGames.org, and follow the Games on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  

For more information on the Final Leg Team, the LETR and the members participating, visit letr-finalleg.org.

About the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games 
The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games is scheduled for June 5-12, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. Jersey Mike’s Subs is the Presenting Partner, and the event is hosted by Disney. During this magical week, more than 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the Caribbean will travel to Florida to unite in one of the country's most cherished sporting events. The USA Games is hosted once every four years and showcases 19 Olympic-style team and individual sports. Website: 2022USAGames.org.

About the 2022 Law Enforcement Torch Run® Final Leg for the USA Games
The Final Leg tradition is for law enforcement officers, representing their state and Torch Run Program, to act as “Guardians of the Flame” and carry the Special Olympics Torch and the "Flame of Hope" to the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics USA Games. This Torch Run event is called the Final Leg because it represents the culmination of Torch Run events that have occurred previously throughout the country. The mission of the Final Leg is to create awareness and excitement for Special Olympics, support, and attendance of the USA Games, and involve, inspire, and motivate runners to increase their level of commitment to Special Olympics when they return to their local Programs. The Final Leg Team is comprised of law enforcement runners, Special Olympics athletes, and Logistics Team members from 49 states representing their Law Enforcement Torch Run and Special Olympics programs. Final Leg runners were chosen for their dedication and commitment to the Law Enforcement Torch Run and Special Olympics by their respective Torch Run Programs throughout the country. For more information on the Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, please contact Final Leg Committee Chairman and Team Captain, John Newnan at final.leg@gmail.com

About Special Olympics Florida
Now celebrating its 50th Anniversary, Special Olympics Florida provides year-round sports training and competition, crucial health services, and life-changing leadership programs to children and adults with intellectual disabilities. It serves nearly 60,000 Special Olympics athletes annually, at no cost to athletes or their families. To learn more, visit www.specialolympicsflorida.org.

Media Contact Information:
Media can learn more, including how to register to cover and attend the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games online at: https://www.2022specialolympicsusagames.org/press-room, or by emailing SOUSAGamesPress@Uproarpr.com.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/4eb9294b-bc24-49bd-a712-ab012caff4c7