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Special Olympics Issues "Invitation to the World" for Summer Games

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RALEIGH — The Triangle is 99 days away from the 1999 Special Olympics World Summer Games. To start the countdown, athletes and supporters across the state rode the Carolinian from Charlotte to Raleigh.

The whistlestop tour traveled through nine North Carolina cities before stopping in Raleigh. At all of the stops, athletes picked up an "Invitation to the World" to attend the 1999 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

One of the passengers on the train was Governor Jim Hunt. "What this means is that the eyes of the world are on North Carolina," Hunt said of the trip.

"This is the biggest event we've ever had in the state. It's the biggest one in the world this year, and I want to take this opportunity now to invite people from all over the world to come to North Carolina for the Special Olympics World Games this summer."

The crowd gathered to see the Governor and athletes like Mike Stone. Stone is a Special Olympics athlete who has competed in World Games before.

"I'm thrilled about this," Stone said. "I'm proud to send this thing off to countries around the world so they can come out and feel what it's like to be a North Carolina native."

The trip started in Charlotte, and went through Kannapolis, Salisbury, High Point, Greensboro, Burlington, Durham, and Cary before stopping at the Amtrak station in Raleigh.

From the station, athletes will take boxes packed with invitations toRaleigh-Durham InternationalFriday afternoon; the invitations will be sent by UPS to the 150 countries represented in the games.

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Tracey Wilson, Reporter
Joe Frieda, Photographer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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