MOUNT PLEASANT (WWJ) – Let the games begin! The 2012 Special Olympics Summer Games kick off Thursday on the campus of Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant.

Nearly 2,600 athletes and 3,400 coaches, chaperones, family members, volunteers and spectators will be traveling from nearly all of the 83 counties in Michigan to compete.

Kimberly Purdy, Director of Marketing for Michigan Special Olympics, said there’s an event for every athlete at the summer games.

“Everything from aquatics to volleyball. We’ve got horseshoe, which is a great sport for some of the older athletes, we have bocce, we have many track and field events, we have gymnastics. We pretty much use most of the venues on campus,” said Purdy.

The Flame of Hope will be lit during a special ceremony at 10 a.m. on Thursday on the Capitol steps in Lansing with a special Law Enforcement Torch Run ceremony. Torch Run members will then spend the next nine hours running in relay style to light the cauldron at Opening Ceremonies.

Opening Ceremonies start at 6:30 p.m. with the parade of athletes, and will include a Coast Guard flyover provided by United States Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City. Then, competition will continue through June 2.

“Theres never a charge for admission and we encourage and welcome members of the public, family, friends, fans, supporters to come on out and cheer on these athletes and see their abilities,” said Purdy.

For more information, visit


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