For Immediate Release:
Contact: Cary McPartlin
+1 (202) 824-0298
DHL to Deliver Flame of Hope to the United States in Early January
Kicking Off Historic Cross-Country Tour That Includes
Participation in the 56th Presidential Inaugural Parade
Torch will arrive in Miami, Florida after traveling more than 30,000 miles around the world as
part of the Global Law Enforcement Torch Run for the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games
Washington D.C., 7 January 2009 — Under the care and protection of DHL, the world’s leading express and logistics company, the Flame of HopeTM for the Special Olympics is scheduled to arrive in Miami, Florida, USA on January 13, for its first stop in the United States as part of the Global Law Enforcement Torch Run®. The flame will then travel to New York City, Washington, D.C. (where it will be part of the 56th Presidential Inaugural Parade), and Los Angeles as it makes its way to Boise, Idaho, where it will be used to light the cauldron during the Opening Ceremony of the 2009 Special Olympics Winter World Games to be held from February 7-13, 2009.
The Flame of Hope began its journey on November 12, 2008 with a lighting ceremony in Athens, Greece. In accordance with Olympic tradition dating back to the Ancient Greeks, the Special Olympics’ torch was lit by the sun’s rays near Olympia, Greece and will remain lit until the end of the World Winter Games on February 13. After the lighting ceremony, the flame embarked on a three--month journey, traveling more than 37,000 miles via DHL to 13 cities across five continents, delivering a message of hope to communities where people with intellectual disability continue to fight for acceptance and a chance to excel without barriers.
“The Flame of Hope’s historic trip around the world is symbolic of our global mission to deliver inspiration and hope to Special Olympics athletes and their families, break down barriers to equality, and create awareness for social change worldwide,” said Timothy Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics. “We are fortunate to be able to deliver the flame and everything it stands for – hope, courage, opportunity, inspiration and equality – to our athletes because of the experience and expertise of our partner in this initiative.”
After stopping in eight cities on four continents, including Athens, Dubai, Johannesburg, San Jose and Shanghai, the flame will arrive on U.S. soil in a unique fashion. For the first time ever, the flame will arrive by water at Miami’s historic South Beach. It will be brought ashore escorted by a small fleet of law enforcement water craft, where it will be transferred from DHL to Florida law enforcement representatives and Special Olympics athletes. The mayors from the City of Miami, the City of Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County will help officially welcome the Flame of Hope to the United States, along with representatives from DHL Express USA headquarters in Plantation, Florida and other dignitaries.
DHL will then transport the flame to New York City, where it will be run through downtown Manhattan on January 15, escorted by athletes and more than 400 of New York’s finest law enforcement officials. The New York City torch run will include a stop at the New York City Police Memorial Wall, where Special Olympics and Global Torch Run participants will help honor men and women who dedicated their lives protecting others.
On January 20, the Flame of Hope will be carried by Special Olympics athletes and law enforcement officers as part of the 56th U.S. Presidential Inaugural Parade, directly following the swearing in of the United States’ 44th President, Barack Obama. Special Olympics was honored to be selected as one of thousands of groups nationwide to be a part of this significant day in U.S. history.
The flame will then travel by DHL across the country and start its fourth U.S. run in California from the famous Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles on January 24. The flame will complete its global journey January 29, when it reaches Idaho, USA to begin the Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg. It will be run through scores of cities in Idaho, carried by a 132-person team, including 10 Special Olympics athletes, before arriving in Boise, where it will ignite the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony of the 2009 World Winter Games on February 7.
The Global Law Enforcement Torch Run event was made possible through the multi-year global partnership between DHL and Special Olympics. This is the second time DHL has provided support to the Global Law Enforcement Torch Run to ensure the smooth and safe transport of the Flame of Hope around the world.
“We are honored to once again be the official sponsors of the Global Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics,” said Michele Nadeem, Vice President, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs for DHL Express USA. “By transporting the Flame of Hope, we seek to inspire communities across the U.S. and around the world.”
The 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho will host nearly 2,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities from more than 100 countries from February 7-13, 2009. During the six day event, athletes will compete in seven winter sport events including: alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, figure skating, floor hockey, snowboarding and speed skating.
The Olympic torch was lit in Athens for the first time in 1896, and today continues to serve as a symbol of strength and determination for athletes from around the world. Special Olympics recently announced its 2011 World Summer Games will be held in Athens.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion between people with and without intellectual disabilities. Through year-round sports training and athletic competition and other related programming for 2.8 million children and adults with intellectual disabilities in more than 180 countries, Special Olympics has created a model community that celebrates people’s diverse gifts. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org.
About the Law Enforcement Torch Run
The Law Enforcement Torch Run has been a Special Olympics tradition for more than 25 years. It began in 1981 when Wichita, Kansas, Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw a need to raise funds and increase awareness for Special Olympics, and conceived the Torch Run as a way to involve local law enforcement personnel in the community to support Special Olympics Kansas. The program was later adopted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and under their support and leadership has expanded into all 50 U.S. states and to 42 nations. The Law Enforcement Torch Run is Special Olympics’ largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle; more than 85,000 law enforcement officers from around the world volunteer for the movement. In 2008, more than $34 million was raised for Special Olympics Programs worldwide.
DHL is the global market leader of the international express and logistics industry, specializing in providing innovative and customized solutions from a single source. DHL offers expertise in express, air and ocean freight, overland transport, contract logistic solutions as well as international mail services, combined with worldwide coverage and an in-depth understanding of local markets. DHL's international network links more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. Some 300,000 employees are dedicated to providing fast and reliable services that exceed customers' expectations. DHL is a Deutsche Post World Net brand. The group generated revenues of more than 63 billion euros in 2007.For the latest news and happenings about DHL please visit: www.dhl-usa.com