In a partnership announced last October, Microsoft signed up to sponsor the Special Olympics. Yesterday, continuing the relationship, Microsoft hosted a leg of the Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America in Redmond on Thursday.
In a blog post about the event, Microsoft details how executives, employees and others ran with the flame to the company's campus in Redmond. Once there, the employees helped light a large cauldron in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella joined the festivities. Accompanying the CEO were singer Aloe Blacc, Special Olympics leaders, and many others. On the extremely warm day, the crowd listened to live music by Allen Stone and played soccer, bocce ball, and other sports.
The event was organized to celebrate the imminent games and a partnership with Microsoft. That partnership between the two organizations is planned to last for next three years. Microsoft's involvement will help modernize the Special Olympics management system by bringing it to the cloud. There are plans to have over more than 2,000 devices donated to help track the event and connect volunteers.
Also in attendance were Microsoft's Special Olympics hosts; Sam Suchmann and Mattie Zufelt. These two lively guys are following the journey of a few athletes that are training and competing in the games. Down the line, Microsoft plans to tell the story of these athletes. The two friends met as Special Olympics competitors a few years ago. The two athletes are even working on a Kickstarter zombie movie together!
The Unified Relay has three simultaneous routes crossing the United States. Each route will converge at the 2015 Special Olympics Summer World Games on July 25. Close to 6,500 athletes will compete in the games making it the world's biggest sporting event of the year. The competition is host to individuals with intellectual disabilities from 170 countries, all competing against their personal bests more than with each other. The Special Olympics is a non-profit organization. It truly is a beacon of hope.