Special Olympics Torch Run Makes a Stop at Rise & Nye's

Todays News

Pictured: Local athletes Mary Russell, Jared Stancil and Justin Bear ready to compete in the 2022 USA Special Olympics Games in Orlando. Photo taken by Barbie Heit.

Since 1981, teams of law enforcement members and Special Olympics athletes have joined together in the Torch Run, carrying “the Flame of Hope” from Chicago, the site of the first International Special Olympics in 1968, to the Opening Ceremonies of local competitions to raise awareness and funds for the Special Olympics movement. Since its inception, the Torch Run has raised over $900 million. Yesterday morning, it stopped in front of Rise & Nye’s to celebrate and honor the 5,000-plus athletes who will compete in the 2022 USA Games in Orlando beginning next week.

Starting at the Sarasota Police Department and continuing through State Street, Wednesday’s Torch Run drew many spectators, including members of Easter Seals and The Haven, who enjoyed coffee and snacks while cheering the officers and athletes on at Rise & Nye’s.

This year's games will be the largest in US history with more than 5,000 athletes participating from across the United States and the Caribbean. Jersey Mike's Subs, the presenting sponsor, raised over $20 million to help athletes go to Disney World, the main host location for the games.

Mary Russell is a Special Olympics swimmer from Sarasota participating in three events. “I’m 24 years old and I’ve been swimming since I was five,” she said. “This is a big opportunity for me and I’m so excited for it! I feel ready and strong.”  Local athletes Jared Stancil (golf) and Justin Bear (tennis) will also travel to Orlando to compete in the games.

Beaver Shriver, co-founder of Rise & Nyes expressed his gratitude for the local supporters, officers and athletes. “Today, we are celebrating the final leg of the 2022 Special Olympics Torch Run, representing the culmination of Torch Run events that are taking place around the country in support of the Special Olympics,” he said. “Inclusion, Jobs and Dignity - that's what we are all about here.”

The USA Special Olympics Games opening ceremony will take place on Sunday, June 5th on ABC at 12 noon. Be sure to check listings for ESPN coverage and download the official app for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games for more information.

Pictured: Local athletes Mary Russell, Jared Stancil and Justin Bear ready to compete in the 2022 USA Special Olympics Games in Orlando. Photo taken by Barbie Heit.

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