Countdown to the Games
17-25 June 2023

Let the Games begin! What's on the agenda today?

The photo shows a huge crowd of people. Everyone is cheering in the direction of a large stage.
Kiel, 14. Mai 2018. Die Special Olympics Kiel 2018 werden feierlich in der Sparkassen-Arena eröffnet.
Sascha Klahn/Sascha Klahn

Today is the day! We celebrate the big Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023, but there is much more on the agenda. An overview of today's highlights can be found here.

  • Rhythmic gymnastics kicks off with the first divisioning.
  • The last day of the Torch Run takes the "Flame of Hope" right across Berlin.
  • A celebrity visit with Friend of the Games Dirk Nowitzki plays 3x3 basketball at the Neptunbrunnen
  • The highlight of the day is the big Opening Ceremony in the Olympiastadion.

Gymnastics-rhythmic with an early start: Already today from 9:00 to 12:00 hrs, the first divisioning preliminaries will take place in the CityCube Level B at Messe Berlin.

A photo of a female athlete during her Gymnastics-Rhythmic competition.
Unified Champion Schools
Chris Combes

A short explanation: The classification of athletes into performance groups is called divisioning which is an important principle of Special Olympics. Everyone should have a fair chance of good placements and an exciting competitions. This works only with homogeneous groups of athletes with a comparable level of performance.

There are a total of 8 disciplines in gymnastics-rhythmic at the Berlin Games. And there is another special feature: According to the rules of the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique, only women are allowed to compete in gymnastics-rhythmic. In Special Olympics, however, men are also allowed.

In our other sports, the participants have their last chance in training to put the finishing touches to their performances today.

The basketball fans among us are also looking forward to a visit from our Friend of the Games: none other than basketball legend Dirk Nowitzki will be there to wish everyone good luck at the Games.

The last day of the Law Enforcement Torch Run has begun today. After the Flame of Hope was lit in Athens, Greece, and continued its journey through several Host Towns in Germany, it has finally arrived at the Games. It will travel once more across Berlin (the exact times and routes can be found here) before the flame will arrive at the Opening Ceremony in the Olympistadion.

And that's exactly where the goosebumps moment of the day will take place: the grand Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023! With the parade of thousands of athletes from all over the world, cheered on by their families, volunteers and spectators, the big party will start at 6:00 pm (admission).

The music band Madcon can be seen in the photo. They look friendly.
Haik Buechsenschuss

We recommend you to be there early, because it might take a little longer at the entrances and also because the pre-show is very worth seeing and hearing.

Highlights of the show program include performances by Madcon with our Games song "Are You Ready" and by the Blue Man Group. More information about the program can be found here.

By the way: A small contingent of remaining tickets is still available. Secure your seat now and celebrate with us that the wait is finally over!



Recent news

Berlin 2023 team says thank you and see you soon!

31 July 2023, 10:40
An unforgettable journey lies behind us. Together we have taken the Special Olympics movement another step forward, given Germany and Berlin an important push for more inclusion and created moments for eternity. And for that, we want to thank you one last time.

Successful Games and responsibility for everyday life

28 June 2023, 16:24
With a brilliant fireworks display in the Berlin summer sky and the extinguishing of the flame, the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 came to a glorious close last Sunday. It was the end of the Games, but by no means the finale in terms of what needs to be done for inclusion.

Extraordinary commitment – our volunteers at the Games

27 June 2023, 11:32
Our volunteers in their distinctive purple shirts were everywhere. Without them, the Special Olympics World Games would not have been such a great success for everyone. Therefore, they deserve a huge thank you!