GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Pitt County hosted a very special Olympic ceremony on Thursday.

For the first time since the start of COVID-19, the Pitt County Special Olympics are back, and hundreds of athletes are ready to represent their teams. The kickoff started with the lighting of the torch on Thursday at J.H. Rose High School. Organizers said they are ready for the games to begin.

“We’re so thrilled to be back after three years,” said Dawn Hester, Pitt County Schools director of Exceptional Children. “You know, the Special Olympics are an important part of our department and our community, it’s all about inclusion and acceptance and it’s all about the students today. We are so thrilled to be back.”

The games will continue on Friday. Organizers have said that all are welcome to participate or volunteer for next year’s games.