Home Sports Special Olympics World Games in Berlin have started

Special Olympics World Games in Berlin have started

Athletes and delegation members attend the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023. Photo: Christoph Soeder/dpa

The first 16 sports started on Sunday at the Special Olympics World Games, after German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier had formally opened the event the previous night.

It is the biggest sports event for people with intellectual disabilities.

Some 7,000 athletes from 176 countries will be competing in 26 sports in Berlin until June 25. It is the biggest multisport event in Germany since the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

The first medals Sunday will be awarded in rhythmic gymnastics.

A 50,000-strong crowd attended the opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium on Saturday night, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz joining Steinmeier and other dignitaries at the colorful three-hour ceremony.

The parade of nations saw the biggest cheer for the German home team and for the Ukrainian athletes and officials.

Timothy Shriver, president of Special Olympics International and the son of Special Olympics founder Eunice Shriver-Kennedy, spoke of “a truly magical night.”

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