Torch Run Glossary

 This is a guide to many of the terms used in communications about the Law Enforcement Torch Run.


Torch Run fundraising event that includes a chief of police or other high-visibility person or local celebrity who is "arrested" in a public display. A predetermined "bail" must be collected from local donors before the person can be released. Capitalize.

Billboard/Rooftop Sit

Torch Run fundraising event in which an officer lives on top of a billboard or building until a designated amount of money is collected. Typically the sit lasts two to five days.  (Visit the Resources & How To's section of this Web site for helpful information for putting on your own Billboard Sit.)
An officer patrols atop his local Krispy Kreme doughnut shop
In addition to collecting donations from customers during a Cops on Doughnut Shops weekend, officers also make calls to local individuals and business leaders asking for pledges, and local celebrities and community leaders are asked to lend their support up on the roofs throughout the weekend. Customers who donate US$5 or more to the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics receive not only the sincere thanks of participating officers, but also receive treats from Krispy Kreme!

Cops on Doughnut Shops

Law enforcement officers take to the roofs of local Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc., stores for a weekend to raise money for Special Olympics. Officers collect donations from customers as they eat, sleep and play on the rooftops of Krispy Kreme stores. In 2006, 44 markets held "Cops on Doughnut Shops" events. (Visit the Resources & How To's section of this Web site for full information on holding a Cops on Doughnut Shops fundraiser.)

Executive Council

The governing body of the Torch Run, composed of 13 Regional Coordinators, three at-large representatives for Special Olympics, three at-large representatives for law enforcement, two Special Olympics appointees and two law enforcement appointees. The Council is authorized by Special Olympics and supported by the International Association of Chiefs of Police for the purpose of managing, promoting, planning, expanding and coordinating Torch Run activities worldwide. Capitalize.

Final Leg

The last miles of a Torch Run, which takes place in the days immediately preceding Opening Ceremonies of a Special Olympics competitive event, especially a major competitive event. For World Games, the officers chosen to run the Final Leg team represent nations from around the world. Capitalize Final Leg; do not place inside quotes. Law enforcement officers participating in a Final Leg can be referred to as Guardians of the Flame® (capitalize, include the copyright registration symbol ® after the word "Flame"). See Law Enforcement Torch Run®.

Fraternal Order of Police

U.S. national law enforcement organization that regularly supports and sponsors Torch Run activities. Abbreviate as FOP after first mention.

fundraiser, fundraising

Do not hyphenate.
Examples: The fundraiser brought in US$1 million. We attended a fundraising event for Special Olympics last night.


Capitalize in all instances when referring to Special Olympics Games. See below for specific guidance.

    * World Games
      Capitalize. Designate the season in title of World Games, unless otherwise specified. After first reference, events may be referred to as World Games, the 1999 Games, or the Games, if the meaning is clear. See complete list of past and upcoming Special Olympics World Games for correct full titles.
    * National Games
      Capitalize. Identify the season for Programs that hold Games for both summer and winter sports (e.g., Special Olympics Austria National Winter Games). For Programs that hold infrequent National Games, identify the event as National Games (e.g., Special Olympics Tanzania National Games).
    * U.S. State Games
      Capitalize. Identify the season for Programs that hold Games for both summer and winter sports (e.g., Special Olympics Maryland State Summer Games).
    * Other
      Capitalize names of multinational or multistate events, many of which have specific names. For example:
      Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games
      Mid-Atlantic Invitational Golf Tournament
      Special Olympics European Games
      Special Olympics Peace Games

Games Organizing Committee

An organization formed to plan, organize, finance and conduct the Special Olympics World Games. Spell out and capitalize on first mention; abbreviate as GOC thereafter.

grass roots

Two words; hyphenate when used as an adjective.

"Guardians of the Flame™"

Law enforcement officers carrying the "Flame of Hope." The first use should include the copyright registration symbol ® after the word "Flame." See Final Leg.

International Association of Chiefs of Police

The founding law enforcement organization of the Torch Run. Abbreviate as IACP after first mention.

John Carion Memorial "Unsung Hero" Award

Award created to recognize individuals who have contributed to the success of the Torch Run on a local, state/provincial or community level in an unheralded fashion.
All four branches of the U.S. military took part in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics at Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan, in June 2005
All four branches of the U.S. military took part in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics at Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan, in June 2005. Marine PFC Irma Rosales (pictured) led more than 100 runners on the annual five-mile run to educate Americans and Japanese about Special Olympics and bring attention to the 2005 Special Olympics Okinawa/Kadena Games, also held in June, in which nearly 880 athletes competed. [Photo by Charles Steitz]

Law Enforcement Torch Run®

Law enforcement officers carry the "Flame of Hope" (torch) prior to a Special Olympics competition to raise funds for and awareness of the Special Olympics movement worldwide. The largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle for Special Olympics in the world. Refer to as Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics on first mention; use Law Enforcement Torch Run or Torch Run thereafter. The first use of the full title should include the copyright registration symbol ® after the word "Run." Torch Run officers are also called Guardians of the Flame ® (capitalize, include the copyright registration symbol ® after the word "Flame"). In text, law enforcement officers is lower case, no hyphens. See also Final Leg, "Flame of Hope."

Opening Ceremonies

Capitalize. Treat as a collective plural rather than a collective singular expression.
Example: Closing Ceremonies were held at Duke University (not "was held").

Plane Pull®, Plane Pulls®

A Torch Run fundraiser in which teams of 20 pay to compete at pulling a plane the longest distance in the shortest amount of time with the least combined team weight. A festival event for spectators may also accompany a Plane Pull. Capitalize. On first reference, include the ®.

Polar Plunge®

A Torch Run fundraiser in which individuals solicit pledges to run into freezing waters. A festival event for spectators may also accompany a Polar Plunge. Capitalize.

Program Survey

A year-end annual survey used to collect information on funds raised throughout the year, sponsorship and event practices for the Torch Run.


The word "Program" is always capitalized when referring to Special Olympics Programs to differentiate it from initiatives and activities.
Example: Special Olympics Belgium held its National Games 23-26 May 2001. It is one of the largest Programs in Europe.

    * National Programs
      • Capitalize.
      Example: Representatives of nine National Programs attended the seminar.
      • In National Program names, "Special Olympics" precedes the country name (Special Olympics Zimbabwe, not Zimbabwe Special Olympics).
    * State and Provincial Programs
      • In state and provincial Program names, "Special Olympics" always precedes the state or province name. (Examples: Special Olympics Massachusetts, Special Olympics District of Columbia, Special Olympics Ontario.)
      • The same rule applies to city Programs (example: Special Olympics Toronto).
      • Do not abbreviate U.S. Program names, e.g., Special Olympics North Carolina, not SONC.

Regional Coordinator (Torch Run)

Individual responsible for advising and overseeing the development of Torch Run programs in the states or countries within their region. There are eight regions in the contiguous United States, plus Canada, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Far East, and the Caribbean. Always capitalize.


Special Olympics is organized into seven regions. The regional offices, staffed by Special Olympics employees, provide training and support to the Programs in their geographic area.

    * Special Olympics Africa (Dr. John Dow, Jr., Managing Director)
    * Special Olympics Asia Pacific (David Rutherford, Managing Director)
    * Special Olympics East Asia (Mary Gu, Managing Director)
    * Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia (Mary Davis, Managing Director)
    * Special Olympics Latin America (Dennis Brueggemann, Managing Director)
    * Special Olympics Middle East/North Africa (Ayman Aly A. Wahab, Managing Director)
    * Special Olympics North America (Bob Gobrecht, Managing Director)

Always use the full region name; do not abbreviate — e.g., Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia, not SOEE.

Richard LaMunyon Hall of Fame

The highest honor awarded to Torch Run volunteers who have made significant contributions to the mission and expansion of the program on the local, national and international levels. Chief Richard LaMunyon was the founder of the Torch Run in Wichita, Kansas (USA), in 1981.

Special Olympics athletes

Never use Special Olympians.


Torch Run fundraising event in which officers assist with waiting tables at a restaurant and collect "tip" donations for Special Olympics. (Visit the Resources & How To's section of this Web site for helpful information for ensuring a successful Tip-A-Cop fundraiser.)

Torch Lighting Ceremony

Always capitalize.

Torch Run

Short for Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. Use only after the full name has been used. Capitalize. Does not need the ® in the shortened form.

Torch Run Director

Law enforcement volunteer leader of the Torch Run efforts and development in a state, province or country. Always capitalize.

Torch Run Liaison

Special Olympics staff member responsible for working with Torch Run volunteers and supporting development in a state, province or country. Always capitalize.


Capitalize the "T."

Unified Sports®

An initiative that brings together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities, people of similar age and athletic ability who train and compete on the same team. On first mention, refer to as Special Olympics Unified Sports®. Thereafter, use Unified Sports.

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