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Photo Gallery: Special Olympics Torch Run in Manhattan Beach

Jul 21, 2015 06:19PM ● By Mb News Staff

The Special Olympics torch gets passed on to runners and athletes at the base of the Manhattan Beach Pier for its trek south on The Strand to Hermosa Beach.

The final leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run took to the streets of downtown Manhattan Beach Tuesday (July 21), drawing a crowd of cheering spectators, young and old, who cheered on the participating Special Olympics athletes and law enforcement participants.

Manhattan Beach Police Chief Eve Irvine and Captain Derrick Abel ran with the group, as it snaked it way from 15th Street outside the police station and city hall toward the ocean, winding up on Manhattan Beach Blvd. for a downhill run to the base of the Manhattan Beach Pier.

After a ceremony with words from MB Mayor Mark Burton, Chief Irvine, and MBPD 
Lieutenant Ryan Small, the torch run participants, some 20+ strong, clapped in exuberance as the World Games' theme song "Reach Up LA" played, engaging with the crowd.

A new torch was lit and then the participants headed south down The Strand to the Hermosa Beach Pier and plaza area.

The Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run is a yearly event whose running legs typically lead to the opening ceremonies of local Special Olympics competitions and State and National Games. This year, the torch run began in Athens, Greece, to make its way to Los Angeles, which is hosting the 2015 Special Olympics World Games.

Every year, more than 85,000 volunteer law enforcement officers participate in the torch run in 35 nations, 12 Canadian provinces, and 50 US states to raise money and bring awareness to the Special Olympics. In 2013, the torch run raised more than $50 million for local Special Olympics programs. The run has raised more than $500 million since its inception in 1981. 

The 2015 LA World Games will feature some 6,500 athletes and 2,000 coaches representing 165 countries. As part of the Host Town program for the Games, Manhattan Beach will welcome athletes and coaches from Hungary and Nepal beginning today (Tuesday, July 21) through Friday, July 24. Other local cities are hosting athletes and coaches from other countries, as well.

The 2015 Special Olympics World Games are being staged in Los Angeles beginning on Saturday, July 25 through Sunday, August 2. The Games will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, and the single biggest event in LA since the 1984 Olympic Games.

With the unparalleled spirit, enthusiasm, teamwork, joy and displays of courage and skill that are hallmarks of all Special Olympics events, t
he 2015 Special Olympics World Games will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the LA region.

The Opening Ceremony will be held Saturday, July 25 in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games. ESPN will broadcast coverage of the World Games to millions of fans internationally. Honorary Chairs of the Games are President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Jerry Brown serving as Honorary Hosts.

In Manhattan Beach, residents John and Judy Peetz and Russ and Charlotte Lesser have helmed the city's Host Town arrangements. Community members who'd like to meet the delegations MB is hosting may do so at a special dinner Thursday. Details are provided here: Special Olympics Community Dinner/Concert.

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