Andy Bryant (center) carries the Special Olympics torch in South Korea Jan. 23, 2013.
Showing the Olympic spirit has become something of a habit for Shoreline Community College student Andy Bryant.
Bryant is one of 10 International Special Olympic Athletes chosen to travel to South Korea to carry the Flame of Hope throughout the country prior to the Jan. 29 opening of the 2013 World Winter Games in Pyeongchang. Bryant will be accompanied by nine law-enforcement officers from all over the world as he runs in what has become known as the Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg.
Bryant is a student in Community Integration and Employment Program, a specially funded program of the Office of Special Services at Shoreline Community College. CIEP provides wrap around services to help student job-seekers explore individualized career paths, build skills for the world of work and transition to and retain employment.
On his journey to Korea, Bryant will be accompanied by Officer Patty Finch from the Centralia Police Department. For the past 31 years, law enforcement personnel have partnered with and sponsored Special Olympics at the local, national and international level. At this event, there will be 95 international law enforcement officers running the final leg in different teams along with the Special Olympians.
The Flame of Hope Final Leg Teams will visit 40 cities and towns across South Korea as they make their way to Pyeongchang for the opening ceremonies. To promote awareness along the way, Bryant has four speaking engagements, including one in Seoul City Hall Square. Bryant and the other runners will bring the flame into the stadium to officially start the 2013 Winter Special Olympics.
Bryant is no stranger to the Olympics or running.
In 2002, Bryant ran the torch for the opening of the Winter Olympics in Utah. He is a regular competitor in the Washington State Special Olympics and is unbeatable in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter events. Bryant has completed numerous half- and full marathons and run the Boston Marathon three times. In his first attempt in 2007 he ran 3:06:00 finishing in the top 6 percent. Since then, Bryant has dropped his marathon time to under three hours.
As for competing in South Korea, the 30-yearold Bryant will stick to torch running, even though he does compete in skiing events here in Washington.