Thorp Athlete to Carry Flame of Hope™ in Athens, Greece

Thorp athlete Carolyn Voelker was recently selected to represent Wisconsin in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as a Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR) Final Leg Runner for the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece. She is one of ten athletes selected worldwide for the Final Leg and one of three from the United States.

This summer, the Final Leg will travel every corner of Greece, as well as to Cyprus and Turkey promoting ability, acceptance and inclusion as Guardians of the Flame®. Voelker’s three-week journey will begin on June 9th with the Flame Lighting Ceremony and conclude on June 25th at the Opening Ceremonies, both in Athens.

Voelker is not a stranger to the Special Olympics World Games. She has won medals in bowling, athletics, and cross country skiing at the World Games in Connecticut in 1995, Ireland in 2003, and Japan in 2005. Voelker is looking forward to a new role in the World Games as apart of the LETR.

“This will be different because it is a new adventure for me that I have not done before. I didn’t think that this was something that athletes like me could do. Now that I can, I will do my best to make everyone proud! I like to compete, so this will be a new challenge and adventure for me,” says Voelker.

Voelker will be joined in Greece by nine other Special Olympics athletes and 89 law enforcement officials representing programs worldwide carrying the Flame of Hope. Her coach, Laurie Jo Lewandowski believes Voelker is very deserving of this honor, saying, “She loves being apart of Special Olympics! She loves to run and trains harder than anyone I know.”

The 34 year-old athlete has been involved with Special Olympics for 20 years and has many wonderful memories with the organization.

“Being involved in Special Olympics has given me and my family the opportunity to meet new people and travel the world together,” says Voelker.

She is ready for another adventure, hoping to spread the message “our possibilities are never ending.”



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