Dave Ongie, News Editor
Swirling lights and the wail of sirens brought traffic to a standstill on State of Franklin Road last Thursday morning as the “Guardians of the Flame” made their way from the Johnson City Municipal and Safety Building to ETSU’s MiniDome.
Local law enforcement joined forces with athletes competing in last week’s Upper East Area 3 Special Olympics Track & Field event to carry the Flame of Hope to the floor of the MiniDome. The 2.2-mile run was part of an annual tradition that culminates in the lighting of a cauldron that officially opens competition.
ETSU president Dr. Brian Noland was on hand to welcome the athletes to campus along with ETSU women’s basketball coach Brittany Ezell. Mayor Jenny Brock and Vice-Mayor Joe Wise represented the City of Johnson City at the opening ceremonies.
Once the cauldron was lit and the opening ceremony was concluded, athletes from Washington, Carter and Unicoi counties competed in a wide variety of events inside the MiniDome. Competition started on Thursday and continued into Friday as the athletes strived to live up to the Special Olympics motto: “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”