The torch, known as The Flame of Hope, was initially lit May 14 in Athens, Greece. On Tuesday, torches set out from Miami, Washington, D.C. and Augusta, Maine on three separate routes.
Over the next 46 days, the torches are expected to travel through communities in all 50 states passing hand-to-hand to thousands of participants who will run, walk or bike with the flame as part of the first-ever Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America.
Along the way, the torches are slated to stop at major landmarks including Walt Disney World in Orlando, the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Chicago’s Navy Pier and Major League Baseball stadiums in several cities, among other venues.
Ultimately, the three torches are scheduled to unite July 10 in Los Angeles ahead of the Special Olympics World Games which will take place July 25 to August 2.
Special Olympics holds alternating winter and summer world games every two years. This year’s games in Los Angeles are expected to bring together more than 7,000 athletes with disabilities from 177 countries including 304 from the United States.