Lighting of eternal flame highlights Special Olympics 50th anniversary celebration

CHICAGO — The celebration of the Special Olympics' 50th anniversary continued Friday in the city where it all began.

A law enforcement torch run was held at 31st Street beach. The torch was lit just moments before rain began to fall. Participants ran in the rain all the way to Soldier Field.

The first torch run in Illinois happened in 1986.

This year, runners raised $4.5 million for Special Olympics.

Runners came from all over Chicago, the state and the world. Participants ran to a new monument that was erected Wednesday outside of Soldier Field to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics, which was first held in Chicago at the stadium in 1968.

The Eternal Flame of Hope symbolizes inclusion, which is the theme of the Special Olympics.

The games continued Friday at Toyota Park in Bridgeview.