Tradition sparks excitement at Indiana Special Olympics opening ceremony

The wave of high-fives seemed endless as athletes entered the Hulman Center Friday night.

Posted: Jun 8, 2018 10:30 PM

TERRE HATE, Ind. (WTHI) - The Flame of Hope is burning in Terre Haute as the 2018 Special Olympics Summer Games are officially underway.

The wave of high-fives seemed endless as athletes entered the Hulman Center Friday night. The high-five line is a tradition that sparks excitement in competitors. Officers and military personnel offered words of encouragement as hundreds of Hoosier athletes took in the moment.

19-year-old Chris Perdue of Osgood, Indiana is the 2017 Athlete of the Year. He is a winter sports athlete and has competed in the X-Games and World Olympics representing Team USA. While he was not competing in these games he says it's a time he enjoys.

"It's always a good night when we come here. You get to meet new people and they get to see their friends that they haven't seen in forever."

Perdue is honored alongside Zionsville Police Officer Josh Chapman. Chapman is the 2017 Officer of the Year. The pair had the unique honor of lighting the official Olympic cauldron. The flame signifies the start of the games.

Officer Chapman says, "Law enforcement throughout the world are known as the Guardians of the Flame for Special Olympics. Part of our responsibility is to keep that Flame of Hope alive and burning and spread awareness and teach people about Special Olympics and the amazing athletes that we serve."

Chapman says his time working with these athletes has changed his life.

"They have such a positive outlook on life and how they do things and it reminds me daily why I do the job I do."

He says he hopes everyone learns something from the games.

"People with intellectual disabilities are just like the rest of us. They might respond to something a little bit slower. They might take a little bit more processing time on other things but they're just like the rest of us. They like to compete in sports. They're athletic. They're passionate about what they do."

For the event schedule, click here.

Article Comments

Terre Haute
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 31°
Robinson
Clear
38° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 32°
Indianapolis
Broken Clouds
30° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 24°
Rockville
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 31°
Casey
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 33°
Brazil
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 31°
Marshall
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 31°
Sunny but still cold.
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Work Fore Fit: Carpenters Local Union No. 133 Apprentice Program

Image

Work Fore Fit: Steel Dynamics

Image

Wednesday Afternoon Weather

Image

Wabash Valley Road Runners Trained in Terre Haute

Image

All You Need to Know for Wednesday

Image

Flu season approaching early: Why the need for the vaccine

Image

Mostly sunny, still cold. High: 37

Image

Loogootee basketball

Image

Rick's Rallies

Image

North Central

WTHI Events