SAN PEDRO, Calif. – June 10, 2008 – On Friday, June 13, for the first time in Special Olympics Southern California history, the “Flame of Hope” will be carried by the Los Angeles Port Police over water on its route to California State University Long Beach to open the 2008 Summer Games. The flame will depart the Port of Los Angeles and be handed-off mid-channel to complete its journey through the Port of Long Beach and to the arena.

The “Flame of Hope’” relay involves more than 3,500 law enforcement officers from agencies around Southern California. Los Angeles Police Officer Gus Martinez and his son, Jason, a Special Olympics athlete, will escort the torch on the Los Angeles side as Port Police Officers hand it off to Long Beach Police Officers with Special Olympics athlete David Saunders and his father, Jim on board.

At 1:30pm on June 13, the athlete and flame will depart from Fire Station 112, located at 5th Street and Harbor Blvd. in San Pedro, aboard a Los Angeles Port Police boat and escorted by the Los Angeles Fire Department fireboat. The torch hand-off to a Long Beach Police Department boat, escorted by a Long Beach Fire Department boat, will take place in the channel separating the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The torch is scheduled to arrive in Shoreline Village in Long Beach at approximately 2:50 p.m.

“The Los Angeles Port Police are truly in awe of these Olympians and their spirit and it is an honor for us to participate in the Torch Relay,” said Los Angeles Port Police Chief Ronald Boyd.

Special Olympics Southern California is a year-round program of sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. 12,500 athletes in 11 countries train and compete in 21 Olympic-type summer and winter sports. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to develop fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with other athletes.

The Port of Los Angeles, also known as “America’s Port,” has a strong commitment to developing innovative strategic and sustainable operations that benefit the economy and the quality of life for the region and the nation it serves. A recipient of numerous environmental awards, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2007 Clean Air Excellence Award, the Port of Los Angeles is committed to innovating cleaner, greener ways of doing business. As the leading seaport in North America in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates 919,000 regional jobs and $39.1 billion in annual wages and tax revenues. A proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles, the Port is self-supporting and does not receive taxpayer dollars. The Port of Los Angeles - A cleaner port. A brighter future.