Special Olympics Flame Arrives in Downtown L.A. for Games

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Lilia Ford, 14, wore a shiny blue leotard and held the hand of her new friend — a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy—as she pranced down Cahuenga Boulevard on Friday morning.

Cars zoomed by trying to enter the nearby Hollywood Freeway onramp, but that didn’t faze Ford or any of the other participants in this leg of the Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America.

Nearby, Lilia’s 13-year-old sister, Alina, walked with their mother, Rita Ford, who held a torch carrying the Special Olympics flame toward its final destination in downtown Los Angeles.

Alina was dressed the same way as her sister -- clad in a leotard with a multicolored lei and a gold medal around her neck. The girls had been winners in gymnastics at the California State Special Olympics. Rita adopted the girls seven years ago from a small town in the Ukraine, and the sisters both have fetal alcohol syndrome.

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