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The Temperature in Alberta is Heating Up as the Flame of Hope Makes Its Way to Calgary

February 22, 2024

The excitement around the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games 2024 (SOCWG) is heating up as we near the start of The Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR) Final Leg (Final Leg) which begins in Lethbridge on February 23, 2024.

The Final Leg will begin at 9 a.m. local time at Lethbridge City Hall when the LETR Torch (known as the Flame of Hope™, symbolizing courage and the power of diversity) will receive a blessing from Blackfoot Elder Patrick Blackplume, who will be accompanied by the Old Agency Drummers. The Flame of Hope will then be lit by Cst. Braylon Hyggen, LETR Past Provincial Director, and Final Leg Coordinator, and David Hall, a Special Olympics Alberta athlete.

The 2024 Torch will feature three logos: LETR Final Leg, Calgary Games, and a logo created by a Special Olympics athlete. The initial idea came from Mandy Mansard, one of our athletes from BC. The final design was created by Regina High School student Sierra Dixon.

The ‘Final Leg’ for the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games Calgary 2024 is presented by TD

"TD is so proud to support the 2024 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Calgary – an incredible celebration of talent, potential and inclusion,” said Robert Ghazal, Senior Vice President & Alberta Region Head, TD Bank Group. “At TD, we're committed to helping create an environment that considers the needs and abilities of all and recognizes individual skills and perspectives, and ensuring that accessibility is fully considered in all parts of our business. This means fostering a warm and welcoming culture where our people feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work, training our employees to recognize and overcome unconscious bias and empowering our people to achieve their full potential, based solely on their strengths and abilities. TD is committed to supporting organizations that are focused on helping people feel more included and connected to their communities. That's exactly what Special Olympics Canada does – not only during the Games, but year-round."

Twelve Cities in Five Days!

From Lethbridge, the Flame of Hope will be carried across Alberta by the “Guardians of the Flame,” and arrive in Calgary on Feb 27.

“Fourteen Law Enforcement members have been selected from across Canada to carry the Flame of Hope, and they will be accompanied by David Hall every step of the way,” explains Cst. Hyggen.

At 12:15 local time, Special Olympics athlete David Hall, Law Enforcement Torch Run members, and TD’s Senior Vice President and Alberta Region Head, Robert Ghazal, will run The Flame of Hope through CF Chinook Centre in Calgary, AB. The run concludes in Centre Court for a brief community presentation before departing to the Opening Ceremony.The event highlights the excellence of the intellectual disability sports community, leaving a lasting impact on the city.

The Flame of Hope has been lighting the way for Special Olympics athletes for over four decades! In 1981, in Wichita, Kansas, Police Chief Richard LaMunyon and six police officers carried a torch to a high school for a Special Olympics event. Since then, 100,000 Law Enforcement members have proudly carried the Flame of Hope into local, Provincial/State, National, and International Games to start the competitions.

The Flame of Hope will continue its journey from CF Chinook Centre and arrive at the Nutrien Western Event Centre, at 8:30 p.m. for the lighting of the Cauldron. Cst. Hyggen continues, “David Hall and LETR have the honour of carrying the Flame of Hope into the stadium together. There, the Cauldron will be lit to mark the official beginning of the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games Calgary 2024.”

“I have been volunteering and participating with LETR and Special Olympics for 15 years, raising money and awareness by jumping into cold lakes in February, organizing runs, riding a bicycle from Lethbridge to Edmonton, serving food at Boston Pizza, and hanging out on scaffolding at Walmart. I have also had the privilege of coaching a basketball team and have carried the Flame of Hope in multiple Games. I heard Special Olympics Athlete Loretta Claiborne speak in Chicago, and what she said really resonated. She shared a conversation she had with Special Olympics founder, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who said to her, “Don’t tell me what you can’t do. Show me what you can do”. We all have different strengths and abilities. Special Olympics shows the world and reminds the participants what they can achieve.” Cst. Braylon Hyggen, LETR Past Provincial Director, and Final Leg Coordinator

Don’t Miss a Moment of SOCWG

SOCWG Calgary 2024 will showcase the power of sport and allow the abilities and determination of the athletes to shine. The Games take place from February 27 to March 2, 2024, with athletes competing in eight different sports. Over 4,000 visitors - including 1,250 athletes, coaches, friends, and family members – are anticipated during the five-day event.

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