Torch run inspires all

Published 8:42 pm Saturday, June 11, 2016


A group of Suffolk public safety officers were among the hundreds from across the state this week showing support for thousands of athletes going for the gold in Richmond.

And the Suffolk police officers, firefighters and sheriff’s deputies didn’t even have to leave the city to support the Special Olympics. Well, maybe they stepped over the line a little bit during the torch handoff.

More than a dozen runners carried the torch 7.2 miles on Thursday after receiving it from a group of Portsmouth police officers at the line between the two cities. They carried it along Bridge Road to the Isle of Wight County line, where they handed it off to a group from the Smithfield and Franklin police departments.


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The torch made its way all the way to Richmond with the help of police departments along the way. Once it arrived, the Olympic cauldron was lit at the University of Richmond Robins Stadium, kicking off a weekend in which 1,500 athletes went for the gold in sports like swimming, softball, track and field, tennis and more.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Virginia is about more than just carrying the flame. The torch run has existed in Virginia since 1986 and has raised more than $16 million in that time, which supports the many resources needed to put on large events like the Summer Games that happened this weekend in Richmond.

But for the athletes, the inspiration of seeing the flame enter the stadium and light the cauldron, and knowing it has criss-crossed the state to make it there, will motivate them to compete even harder, faster and stronger and foster a sense of camaraderie with their fellow athletes, the volunteers and any law enforcement they encounter throughout their lives.

Many thanks to those from Suffolk and across the state who participated in this worthwhile effort, and congratulations to all of the athletes.