Austinites carry "Flame of Hope" for Special Olympics

Central Texans are taking part in a historic journey for the Special Olympics.

For the first-time, torches lit in Greece are being passed across the country.

This is all in preparation for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.

Over the next several days the torch is being carried through Texas, bringing awareness to acceptance along the way.

From East Coast to West Coast, three torches are being passed through all 50 states.

"They are actually carrying a flame that started back in Greece. It's been a lot of fun talking to people about that. It has captured their imaginations," says Tela Mange, V.P. of Communications, Special Olympics Texas.

This is the first time Special Olympics has had the Unified Relay Across America.

On Monday the "Flame of Hope" was carried through Austin.

Tela Mange who works for Special Olympics Texas got to participate with one athlete.

"It was an amazing experience. I'm so proud to be a part of something that is showing that people with intellectual disabilities count just as much as anybody else," Mange.

Special Olympian Allan Cole also got to take part in this historic journey.

"You see, I'm proud to be here with my sister Angela," says Allan Cole, Special Olympian.

His sister is just as proud to be here with him.

Allan has been involved with the Special Olympics since 1972, winning several medals for his outstanding performances over the years.

He's competed in diving to the 50-yard dash.

Allan is honored to share all of his accomplishments with his family.

"It means the world to see your family member, your brother, get to be a part of something this big and this unique and this unified," says Angela Carr, family member of Special Olympian.

Special Olympics Texas also teamed up with Google to put on a ceremony on Monday.

Athletes from Georgetown and Elgin were able to play bochee ball, listen to music and see the torch that had been carried all day.

Whether you got to participate or not, it was another opportunity for the community to come and show their support.

"It's incredible to be here and to see the smile on everybody's faces, coming together. It started out in Miami and it's traveled all this way. Just two days ago, I was in Houston running the flame," says Monique Evans, Miss Texas 2014.

For the families, it is a moment they will cherish - seeing their athletes get praise for their cabilities instead of focusing on the disabilities.

"It's unbelievable to watch these Special Olympians participate and have such a good time, for their parents to be involved, their families get to see them be involved."

The journey will end in Los Angeles for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games on July 25th.

There will be 7,000 athletes competing there, 14 of them are from Texas.


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