Countdown to the Games
17-25 June 2023

Learn more about the Opening Ceremony program

The photo shows many people during the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.
Special Olympics World Games 2023 Schönefeld 12.06.2023 Ankunft der Delegationen / Teams am Flughafen BER Team USA Foto: Tilo Wiedensohler/camera4
Josh Meltzer

In just a few days, we will kick-off the Special Olympics World Games with the grand Opening Ceremony in the Olympiastadion Berlin. It will be colorful, emotional, joyful and inclusive. Will you be there?

"After two years of intensive preparation, we are delighted that it is finally getting underway and that the Opening Ceremony in the Olympic Stadium will be the start of a week full of unique experiences for all athletes," says director Sven Sören Beyer, head of the artists' collective called phase 7 performing.arts.

"The importance of inclusion – not only in sports, but in all aspects of everyday life – will be celebrated and lived throughout the ceremony, in line with the Games motto: #UnbeatableTogether."

If you want to be there when we make history together, you still have the chance to secure your seat now:



18:00: Doors open
18:45: Pre-show
20:15: Official start of the event
22:55: End of the show

The Program

The Opening Ceremony starts with the parade of all participating delegations, which enter the stadium one after the other. One member of each delegation pours water brought from home into a large basin, accompanied by the music of an inclusive Berlin DJ collective.

Timothy Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics International (SOI) and son of Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy-Shriver, is the first to address all athletes and guests. This is followed by an emotional highlight: the Special Olympics flag is raised, accompanied by the singing of Alexander Klaws and Sabrina Weckerlin, who perform the Disney song "Go the Distance".

The photo shows three people taking part in the Opening Ceremony of the National Games in Berlin and having fun. In the scene they take part in a dance polonaise.
Anna Spindelndreier

The event continues with a big inclusive show act with poetry slam, music by cello and piano, an artistry act and a 70-person choir, before the Special Olympics Oath is solemnly spoken by athlete Ralf Andrasch and the Games are officially opened by Federal President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Greetings will also be given by Nancy Faeser (Federal Minister of the Interior and Home Affairs), Kai Wegner (Governing Mayor of Berlin), Christiane Krajewski (President of Special Olympics Germany and Chair of the Organizing Committee) and Mark Solomeyer (Vice President, Athlete Spokesperson and Global Messenger of Special Olympics Germany).

Then it will get spectacular: First, the Special Olympics Flame of Hope will be ceremoniously lit. This is followed by the performance of the official Games song "Are You Ready" by the Norwegian duo Madcon with a rousing beat and lots of good energy and accompanied by around 700 dancers from the German Dance Sports Association (DTV).

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

The DTV and hopefully all spectators as well as athletes will dance the official Games Dance, which you can learn here in our YouTube tutorial.

A final goosebump moment will be provided by fireworks that will bathe the Berlin evening sky in the most beautiful colors. Actors and musicians of the world-famous Blue Man Group are involved in the staging of the fireworks for the finale of the show.

The Opening Ceremony will be broadcast live on various channels. More information on the TV coverage is available here.

For information on your travel, accessibility and more, check out our Spectator Guide. Small tip: The pre-programme at 6.30 pm is recommended. Not only because of the quality, but also to avoid long queues.

We cannot wait to dance and party with you!


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!