Local News

Flame, Athletes Arrive for Special Olympics

Posted June 24, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— The countdown is on, and theSpecial Olympics World Gameskick off Saturday night. So far, everything has gone like clockwork. The athletes arrived safely and the stage was set for the Opening Ceremonies.

Law enforcement officers from around the world escorted the flame to its final destination inRaleigh.

"I'm very proud, it's been a fantastic moment," said Steve McCollum, a Montana law officer. "Everything on this trip has been memories that I will keep for the rest of my life."

While the flame was on the way in, so was Team USA at RDU International Airport. About 2,000 athletes and coaches came in on267 Cessna Citations.UPSwas in charge of handling the more than 4,000 pieces of luggage.

"We sort them into vehicles destined forN.C. State,Meredith Collegeand theUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill," said UPS supervisor David Babiak.

Team Mississippi made their trek by rail, thanks toCSXandAmtrak.

The excitement was building at Carter-Finley where the dress rehearsal for the Opening Ceremonies took place. One performer did not understand the magnitude of the event.

"I thought it was something small, but I found out the guests that are going to be here, the stars that are going to be here," said field performer Jennifer Menendez. "It's just incredible, and I'm so excited and can't wait to perform."

You can watch the Opening Ceremonies live on WRAL-TV, the official television station of the World Games. WRAL OnLine will also offer a live Webcast of the event, beginning at 7 p.m.

Starting Monday, WRAL will also broadcast nightly specials from 7:30 to 8 p.m. through Friday night. If you miss that, you can catch a five-minute recap of the day's happenings every night after the 11:00 News.

Traffic will obviously be affected by the World Games. For updates throughout the day, you can check outTriangle Traffic. Some roads have been closed until the Games end, including Dan Allen Drive, Cates Avenue and Morrill Street, all in Raleigh.

The World Games end July 4.