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Route Set For Special Olympics Torch Run

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WILMINGTON — The world's largest sporting event of the year is coming to the Triangle this summer, and sparks are already flying in Wilmington to celebrate.

Public officials, Special Olympics athletes and law enforcement officers from across the state gathered Tuesday on the Battleship North Carolina to hear the schedule for the Law Enforcement Torch Run.

The "Flame of Hope" will arrive in Wilmington from Greece to kick off the Special Olympics World Summer Games.

On June 20, the torch run will begin from the battleship, and continue across the state to fuel excitement about the games.

Raleigh PoliceLt. Mike Teem has been working for two and a half years to get things organized for the torch run. "Law enforcement officers here are very excited about hosting the world games," Teem says.

You can cheer on the law enforcement officers and athletes as they carry the torch through more than 100 cities and towns across the state June 21-25. Opening ceremonies are set for June 26 at Carter-Finley Stadium.

The games will be played at venues in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, as well as other locations across the state.

Tuesday's announcement came in the midst of a Chinese New Year celebration, held as Wilmington prepares to host athletes from China.

"I'm excited about showing them what we can do here and learning about their customs and making pen pals and stuff like that too," says Natalie Robins, a Special Olympics athlete.

Even though the athletes from around the world will not arrive in North Carolina for another four months, and the real torch has yet to arrive, the spirit of these games has already been ignited.