Maryland Athletics Participate in Special Olympics Relay Across America


The Special Olympics Flame of Hope made its way through College Park on Tuesday.

The Flame of Hope is a torch that is being carried through communities across the United States from May 26 to July 10 as it makes its way to Los Angeles for the Special Olympics World Games.

On Tuesday, that flame was carried by Maryland basketball head coach Mark Turgeon along with other members of the Maryland Athletics family. Others who participated in the torch run included head coach Kerry McCoy (wrestling), and student-athletes Lou Mascola (wrestling), Amber Melville (women’s track & field), Thea LaFond (women’s track & field), and Hailey Murray (volleyball).

Amid the great success that many of Maryland’s spring sports have been experiencing, this event is a great reminder that sports have a greater purpose than just what we fans focus on most of the time.

Special Olympics is a great organization and one that I’ve had the honor to be a part of as a coach the past two years.

As a guy who works with students who have intellectual disabilities, I’ve been able to see first hand the power that sports have to bring students with and without disabilities together. I’ve seen friendships formed, expectations exceeded and lives changed through one of the most powerful things in the world: sports.

President and CEO of Special Olympics Maryland, Jim Schmutz, was excited about the University’s participation in the Relay Across America.

"“We are very excited to have the University of Maryland, the athletic department and the College Park community participate in the Unified Relay Across America. The support from the community, the coaches and administration reinforces the value of sports in our community and is very important to our Special Olympic athletes.”"

Coach Mark Turgeon had nothing but good things to say about the event.

"“I have worked with Special Olympics in the past and it is a tremendous organization. It is great for our College Park community to come out and gather together to participate in this special event.”"

Don’t miss the Special Olympics World Games this summer. Tune in to to ESPN on July 25 to catch the opening ceremonies.

To learn more about Special Olympics, visit their website here.

See what Special Olympics is doing in the great state of Maryland by visiting the Special Olympics Maryland website here.

Next: Women's Basketball Star Lexie Brown to Transfer