The lighting of the Special Olympic torch amplifies something extremely powerful.
The flame signifies a memory these athletes will have burned into their minds for the rest of their lives.
"We're out here trying our hardest and we're trying to do our best here," said Devin Keller, who is participating in his second summer games and is from Flint.
On Thursday night, the opening ceremonies of Michigan Special Olympics Summer Games on Central Michigan University's campus.
"It's kind of overwhelming for me. I just, I've never been in a place with this many people before," said Blake Reed, who's competing with his twin brother Emitt this weekend.
Nearly 3,000 athletes from across the state paraded onto Kelly-Shorts football field Thursday night.
"It's awesome, it's like you're getting more respect than anything else," said Flint competitor Andrew Seymour.
The athletes took center stage before the competitions begin on Friday. Athletes will compete in events like bowling, gymnastics and weightlifting.
"I mean, it's pretty cool. I mean, I'll be doing bowling tomorrow," said Jacob Rapin, who's from Saginaw County participating.
More than 2,000 volunteers and coaches make the weekend a success.
"Everyone of them, it doesn't matter, race doesn't matter, their ailments don't matter, it's something we can all take from," said Don Pfeiffer, who volunteers with the games.
And so we say let the games begin!
To learn more about the Special Olympics and the Summer Games held this weekend, CLICK HERE.
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