Men and Women Vs. Machine: Chicagoland Residents & Law Enforcement Officials Participate in 5th Annual Plane Pull at O’Hare International Airport


Participants test ‘tug-of-war’ skills by pulling 180,000-pound plane

CHICAGO, Ill.Teams of local law enforcement agencies and the general public will participate in a larger than life tug-of-war challenge at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21. They will face off with a UPS Airbus A300 aircraft weighing more than 180,000 pounds at O’Hare International Airport, for the benefit of Special Olympics Illinois. The Law Enforcement Torch Run Plane Pull includes teams from law enforcement agencies, fire departments, private companies, high schools, colleges, fraternal groups and teams of friends and family. The opening ceremony is at 8:30 a.m. View Plane Pull Team Schedule for information on when teams are scheduled to compete.

“It’s great to see people supporting Special Olympics programs in Illinois and we’re excited to see them test their strength against a 90-ton airplane,” said Matt Johnson, Special Olympics Illinois Director of Special Events-Torch Run. “In addition to those participating in the Plane Pull, we encourage family and friends to join in the spirit by supporting their loved ones and Special Olympics programs by making a donation to Special Olympics Illinois by visiting”

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Lynxs Cargo Area at O’Hare International Airport. Team captains can turn in their donations and pick up their T-shirts and other materials at registration. New teams can still sign up that morning.

Teams will be divided into two different divisions – Open Division is ideal for companies, school teams, church groups, clubs, friends and families and Public Safety Division is for law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs, DNR, DOC and military personnel. Each team of 20 will attempt to pull the plane a distance of 12 feet, with the top finisher from each division facing off for one final pull to determine the Grand Champion team. To participate, each team is asked to raise a minimum of $1,000 ($50 per person) for Special Olympics Illinois. Teams raising more will be eligible for incentive prizes at the $2,500, $4,000 and $6,000 levels.

“On behalf of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Aviation, I want to thank the Law Enforcement Torch Run committee and Special Olympics Illinois for holding this spectacular event at O’Hare International Airport for the fifth consecutive year,” said Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino. “We are very proud to continue to support Special Olympics Illinois in its mission to provide year-round sports training and competition to children and adults with intellectual disabilities.”

“The Plane Pull fundraiser is a perfect fit for law enforcement officers who want to get involved in the Torch Run and its support of Special Olympics. All year long, officers are raising money and awareness through events like this for our charity of choice – Special Olympics Illinois,” said Eric Smith, Sherman Police Chief and Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run Director.

UPS is Presenting Sponsor of the 2013 Law Enforcement Torch Run Plane Pull. Other sponsors are Chicago Department of Aviation, City of Chicago, HMS Host and Durham School Services.  Because Special Olympics athletes compete free of charge, all money raised by the Plane Pull will directly assist in their training and competition.

About Special Olympics Illinois

Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for more than 21,300 athletes with intellectual disabilities and nearly 13,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics transforms lives by empowering people with intellectual disabilities to realize their full potential in sports and in life. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support.  If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics Illinois, volunteering or providing financial support to help make Special Olympics programs possible, contact your local Special Olympics agency, call 800-394-0562 or visit our website at

About Law Enforcement Torch Run

The Law Enforcement Torch Run is the single largest year-round fundraising vehicle benefiting Special Olympics Illinois. The annual intrastate relay and its various fundraising projects have two goals: to raise money and to gain awareness for the athletes who participate in Special Olympics Illinois. Each year, more than 3,000 officers in Illinois run more than 1,500 miles carrying the Flame of Hope through the streets of their hometowns and deliver it to the State Summer Games in Normal in June. The Law Enforcement Torch Run has raised more than $28 million over 27 years while increasing awareness of Special Olympics Illinois athletes and their accomplishments. Visit to learn more.

About the Chicago Department of Aviation

The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) is self-supporting, using no local or state tax dollars for operations or capital improvements at O’Hare and Midway International airports. Together, Chicago’s airports generate more than $45 billion in annual economic activity and create 540,000 jobs for the region. Please visit to learn more about the Chicago Department of Aviation.

About UPS

UPS (NYSE: UPS) is a global leader in logistics, offering a broad range of solutions for the transportation of packages and freight, including innovative delivery options for the global consumer market; the facilitation of international trade, and the deployment of advanced technology to more efficiently manage the world of business.  Headquartered in Atlanta, UPS serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide.  The company can be found on the Web at and its corporate blog can be found at To get UPS news direct, visit


Barbara DiGuido, Special Olympics Illinois, 630-942-5621