“Let the Games Begin!” : Special Olympics kick off at Fort Jackson

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Published: May. 12, 2023 at 11:18 PM EDT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The South Carolina Special Olympics is officially underway at Fort Jackson.

Friday night, over 750 athletes and their families from across the state descended upon the Midlands for the opening ceremony.

The games this weekend include a variety of events from track and field, gymnastics, powerlifting, swimming, and bocce.

Prior to the ceremony, law enforcement from across the state participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics.

The relay took runners through the entire state, with the first leg beginning in the Upstate.

The final leg kicked off on the east side of the State House as a procession of area law enforcement carried the torch 7 miles to the cauldron outside the Solomon Center at Fort Jackson.

The route took runners down Gervais St. to Millwood, then Devine to Fort Jackson Blvd., and finally onto the base, where the Special Olympians greeted the first responders with fist bumps and high fives.

With the cauldron lit, the athletes from 14 areas statewide entered the arena to thunderous applause from the trainees at Fort Jackson.

The raucous and electric hour-long opening ceremony recognized the tremendous achievements of the athletes, as Brigadeer General Jason Kelly challenged the athletes to do their best.

He then ushered in the games, with the official proclamation, “Let the Games Begin.”

The games themselves, get underway on Saturday. Winners compete to advance to the USA and World Games.

But judging by the smiles, highs, and high fives at the Solomon Center, everyone there is truly a winner.

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