It’s not often that Coronado has a rainy day in July — but just as the skies opened up on the 18th of the month, the Flame of Hope torch came blazing through Spreckels Park. Even the sudden downpour couldn’t dampen the spirits of the Special Olympics athletes and law enforcement officers carrying the torch to the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
The Flame of Hope symbolizes the Special Olympics goal of shining a light on the talents and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities.
The torch was carried across the island as part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, Special Olympics’ grassroots fundraiser that has raised more than $500 million since its inception in 1981. More than 100,000 law enforcement members from all over the world contribute to the Torch Run’s efforts annually as “Guardians of the Flame,” ensuring its delivery to the opening ceremonies of Special Olympics competitions and games.
The Coronado stop was part of the Torch Run’s “Final Leg,” which kicked off at the California state Capitol and traveled throughout California before reaching the opening ceremony in Los Angeles on July 25.
Coronado recognized the event with a concert by the Coronado Community Band and speeches from Mayor Casey Tanaka, Coronado native and U.S. Olympian Layne Beaubien, and Coronado Police Chief Jon Froomin.
Nigel Davis, a summer and winter Special Olympics gold medalist from Jamaica who helped carry the flame into Spreckels Park, also addressed the crowd on the opportunities that Special Olympics had afforded him, including worldwide travel, the opportunity to train with top athletes internationally and the opportunity to meet new friends.
“Special Olympics has given me guidance and an extra family that has helped me to become the man I am today,” he said.