The Flame of Hope for the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games was lit on November 12, at a ceremony in Zappeion Hall, Athens. In keeping with the Olympic tradition, the torch was lit by the sun’s rays before embarking on a three-month journey around the world to Idaho, USA, the site of the next World Games (www.2009worldgames.org). Almost 3,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities from more than 100 countries will participate in Special Olympics World Winter Games to be held from February 7 to 13, 2009.
After Athens the first stop for the torch will be in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It will then continue around the world, making stops in Poland, Costa Rica, South Africa, India, China and three cities in the United States – Miami, New York and Los Angeles.
On January 27, 2009 the flame will reach Idaho, USA, to begin the Torch Relay‘s final leg through many cities in Idaho before arriving at the Opening Ceremony for the World Winter Games on February 7.
The 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games will be held in Athens, Greece.