Stacks Image 8930

History of the Final Leg

Since 1993, law enforcement officers from around the world have participated in the Final Leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run prior to the Special Olympics World Summer and Winter Games. The tradition of the Final Leg Torch Run is for law enforcement officers representing their country, state and Torch Run Program, to act as “Guardians of the Flame” and carry the Special Olympics Torch and "Flame of Hope" to the Opening Ceremonies of the Special Olympics World Games. This Torch Run event is called the Final Leg because it represents the culmination of Torch Run events that have occurred previously throughout the World. The Torch Run Final Leg is not only a salute to the athletes from around the World who will compete in the Special Olympics World Summer Games, but also an honor for the participating law enforcement officers and Special Olympics athletes who comprise the Torch Run Final Leg Team.

The Olympic flame symbolizes the light of spirit, knowledge and life. With identical power and majesty, the Special Olympics "Flame of Hope," in the entrusted care of the law enforcement community, symbolizes the courage and celebration of diversity that the Special Olympics movement represents.

Final Leg Mission

Create awareness and excitement for Special Olympics and World Summer Games

Encourage support and attendance of World Games

Proudly represent Law Enforcement and Torch Run Programs around the world as a symbol of our deep commitment to the athletes of Special Olympics as we serve as ambassadors for Law Enforcement, Special Olympics, and the World Games

Make athlete involvement a vital part of the Final Leg—in addition to having Special Olympics athletes as a part of the Final Leg Team, our goal is to highlight local athletes at ceremonies

Publicize and promote the Final Leg and World Summer Games to the fullest extent

Create the best ceremony possible in every community to help fulfill the mission of the Final Leg

Fulfill our role as “Guardians of the Flame” by maintaining the flame until the lighting of the cauldron at the World Games Opening Ceremonies. The Lighting of the Flame for the Special Olympics World Games will takes place at the Sacred Site of Pnyx, opposite the Acropolis of Athens, in Greece. In keeping with tradition, the rays of the sun light the Flame and the entire ceremony will take place along the lines of the original Torch Lighting of the Olympics Games. The integrity of the Flame will then be protected by law enforcement officers throughout its journey to the Opening Ceremonies of the World Games.

Involve, inspire, and motivate runners to increase their level of commitment to Special Olympics when they return to their local programs.



1995 - Connecticut, USA

1999 - North Carolina, USA

2003 - Dublin, Ireland

2007 - Shanghai, China

2011 - Athens, Greece

2015 - California, USA


1993 - Austria

1997 - Toronto, Canada

2001 - Alaska, USA

2005 - Nagano, Japan

2009 - Idaho, USA

2013 - PyeongChang, Republic of Korea