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A march of 1,000 athletes, lighting of the Olympic torch, live entertainment and a tribute to troops serving in the Middle East will highlight the opening Thursday evening of the 1991 Utah Winter Special Olympics.

Ceremonies will be at 6 p.m. at Butler Middle School, 7530 S. 2700 East, with events for mentally handicapped athletes scheduled Thursday through Saturday.All activities are free to the public.

Figure skating, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and speed skating, 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., are scheduled Thursday at Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center, 7500 S. 2700 East, and youth bowling, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday at Bonwood Bowl, 2500 S. Main.

Friday events include nordic skiing time trials, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Solitude ski resort; alpine skiing slalom time trials, 10 a.m. to noon, Brighton; floor hockey skills, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and floor hockey games, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Butler Middle School; alpine skiing slalom competition, 1 to 4 p.m., Brighton; and an athlete victory banquet and dance, 5 to 7 p.m., at Butler Middle School.

Nordic skiing competition will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Solitude, while alpine skiing giant slalom time trials are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Brighton. Closing ceremonies are set at 3 p.m. at Brighton.

"Men and women at Hill Air Force Base as well as those of local National Guard (and reserve) units play an important part in the success of our games. They provide a strong portion of our volunteer force. However, due to recent action in the (Persian) gulf they obviously won't be able to join us," said Sharon Bullock, public relations director for Utah Special Olympics.

Athletes, parents and coaches who have family members serving in the Middle East will participate in the tribute.