The first-ever Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America, presented by Bank of America, will enter Houston at approximately 11:50 a.m. on Saturday, June 20 and will pass through the city until about 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 21 before moving toward Katy and San Antonio. Local residents and Special Olympics supporters will help carry the Special Olympics Flame of Hope, as the torch makes this historic journey across America, on its way to the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, Calif., on July 25. The Unified Relay will unite the country, increase understanding and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities, and create communities of acceptance and inclusion along the way.
Following the first day of the relay in Houston, an evening celebration, which will include entertainment, will run from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 20 at Discovery Green (1500 McKinney St., Houston, TX 77010) to welcome the Flame of Hope. More details about the evening celebration will be available at a later time.
On May 14, 2015, the Flame of Hope was lit by the rays of the sun during a ceremony conducted by High Priestesses with intellectual disabilities in Athens, Greece. The torch was then passed to the Guardians of the Flame, Law Enforcement officers from throughout the world who represent the Law Enforcement Torch Run. After the official lighting, the flame began its official journey to the Special Olympics World Gamesand arrived in Washington, D.C., where the relay then split into three simultaneous routes starting in Augusta, Maine; Miami, Florida; and Washington, D.C
Thousands of participants across the United States are running, walking or biking a segment of the Unified Relay as it passes through all 50 states.
In its role as presenting sponsor, Bank of America is providing significant financial and volunteer support to the Unified Relay. Bank of America employees in Houston are encouraging participation among individuals, families and businesses.
The Unified Relay will culminate at the Opening Ceremony of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles on July 25, 2015. ESPN, the official broadcaster of the World Games, will produce the Opening Ceremony live as well as a nightly highlights program throughout the nine-day event. Tune in to ESPN on July 25 for live coverage of the Opening Ceremony starting at 9 p.m. ET
Participants and supporters can also follow the Flame of Hope at www.unifiedrelay.org as it makes its way across the United States and donate to the Special Olympics by texting FLAME to 91999.
About the Unified Relay Across America
The Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America presented by Bank of America, is a once in a lifetime opportunity for America to unite to build communities of respect and inclusion. Over the course of 46 days, in a hand-to-hand exchange, over 20,000 participants throughout the nation will carry the torch, passing the Special Olympics Flame of Hope across the country to help deliver it to Los Angeles for the Special Olympics World Games. The Unified Relay will be three simultaneous routes visiting all 50 states and will be led by celebrity and Special Olympics athlete co-captains. The Unified Relay will begin on May 26, where it will be split into three simultaneous routes starting in Augusta, Maine; Miami, Florida; and Washington, D.C. Traveling west, all three routes will converge in Los Angeles on July 10. Along each route, welcoming ceremonies and community celebrations will take place with musical performances, celebrity guests and Special Olympics Unified Sports Experiences. The Unified Relay Across America is presented by Bank of America, and supported by official media partners ESPN and ABC, and national sponsors Citgo, Finish Line, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, Microsoft, PR Nutrition, Toyota and Visa.
About Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small- and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 48 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 4,800 retail banking offices and approximately 15,800 ATMs and award-winning online banking with 31 million active users and approximately 17 million mobile users. Bank of America is among the world's leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
About Special Olympics Texas
Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) is a privately funded non-profit organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect. SOTX provides continuing opportunities for more than 51,300 children and adults with intellectual disabilities throughout the Lone Star State to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. To learn more, visit www.specialolympicstexas.org or call 800.876.5646. Engage with us on: Twitter @SOTexas; fb.com/SpecialOlympicsTX; youtube.com/specialolympicstexas.