More than 700 athletes stood on the floor of Montana State University’s Brick Breeden Fieldhouse on Wednesday and took a solemn oath. “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

From the back of the auditorium, a dozen law enforcement officers entered and circled an empty cauldron soon to be lit by a flame that had been carried 2,000 miles across Montana. The lighting of the cauldron marked the opening of the 2023 Special Olympics State Summer Games.

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Traci Rosenbaum covers education for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. You can reach her at 406-582-2633 or