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Cook County Sheriff's Office participates in Special Olympics Torch Run

CHICAGO - Thousands of law enforcement officers across Illinois are running 23 legs from every corner of the state, carrying the Special Olympics Torch, the Flame of Hope, to the games taking place this weekend in Normal, Illinois.

Cook County Sheriff’s deputies, correctional officers and special teams are participating. They lined up to start at the Cook County Jail on Tuesday to hear the origins of the Special Olympics. It was started in Chicago, by retired Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, who was a P.E. teacher with the Chicago Park District in 1968. Now, it has gone international.

The runners are raising awareness and money to support the 21,000 athletes competing in 18 sports. Monday’s route started at the jail in Little Village and ended in Palos Heights.

All the state torches converge in Hancock Stadium in Normal on Friday night, an emotional end that begins Summer Special Olympics Games.