ARLINGTON -- Some of the most determined athletes you'll ever meet are in Arlington this weekend, and they are going for the gold.

The Special Olympics of Texas Summer Games kick off Friday at UT Arlington. Nearly 3,000 athletes from across the state are competing in one of six sports.

Killeen ISD junior Victoria Hernandez has been training for weeks.

"We don't quit, we put the best foot forward to make it as fun as possible, but we have to stay together. You can't get lost. You can't lose a teammate," said Hernandez.

"Joy. Pure joy. They're kids. They have an opportunity. To see them smiling, to see them happy, it's joy," said Jsanean Mark, Killeen ISD parent educator and coach for the Special Olympics. "The high fives, the hugs, the kisses, they just love every bit of it."

The athletes received a hero's welcome. Four hundred law enforcement officers from around the state ran into the stadium carrying torches with the Flame of Hope. It will be used to light the cauldron Friday night during opening ceremonies.

El Paso Police Sgt. Roberto Cardenas was part of a team that ran 600 miles to get to Arlington. He said the Special Olympics athletes inspire him.

"Those kids would be out here giving 100% if they could, they go from 0 to 100, they just give it all," he told us.

The games are meant to give those with intellectual disabilities a sense of pride and empowerment, while promoting awareness and acceptance for all.

The games run through Sunday.

Go here for more information.