Berlin will become Germany's capital of inclusion. This will be quite obvious from 19 to 24 June, when 4,000 athletes* will compete in 20 sports throughout the city, including 200 athletes from international delegations from 13 countries.
"It's great to finally be able to do sports with everyone again after such a long time," says Juliana Rößler from Berlin. The 38-year-old is competing in the canoeing events at the National Games for people with intellectual and multiple disabilities: "Hopefully, many spectators will also come. Of course, it would be nice to take first place at the Special Olympics in Berlin. I want gold."
"The state of Berlin is supporting the sporting event just like the World Games Berlin 2023 with great commitment. We are proud to be able to be part of something big, because the Special Olympics movement has a lasting effect on our society. With the Berlin 2022 and 2023 sporting events and with the sustainability programs, such as Inclusion '23 or the inclusive Host Town Program. This enables encounters, shared experiences, team spirit and ultimately a new togetherness of people with and without disabilities. Not only in the sports metropolis of Berlin, but throughout Germany," says Iris Spranger, Berlin's Senator for the Interior, Digital Affairs and Sports, and has already confirmed her participation in numerous events of the Special Olympics National Games Berlin 2022.
Together with Juliana Rößler, Berlin Special Olympics athlete, Sven Albrecht, Managing Director of Special Olympics Germany, and Katrin Günther, Head of Sports at rbb, the senator looked ahead on Sunday to a sports week the likes of which Berlin itself does not experience too often: with the National Games to start and The Finals immediately afterwards, as well as the Landessportbund's big sports festival on 25 and 26 June on the grounds of the Olympiapark.
"We invite all people, not just Berliners, to celebrate this festival with us. I am convinced that this will not only be an event for our athletes that they will not forget. Thanks to the support of the Senate and the Federal Ministry of the Interior, we have been able to create excellent conditions for our athletes here in Berlin. For the athletes and us as organizers, the Games are a qualification and dress rehearsal for 2023," says Sven Albrecht: "For visitors, however, it is much more. Together with the athletes, they can show how we can change our society and pave the way for people with intellectual and multiple disabilities to lead an equal life. Your visit to the Games is an active contribution to changing our thinking."
For Katrin Günther, head of the Sport content box at rbb, "the National Games show in a very special way how sport can have an impact on our society." That's why rbb has also produced a film about the Games that highlights this aspect in particular. Let our colleagues Yvonne App and Michael Zimmer take you on a journey to a new normality - on 18 June, the film Special Olympics - Games without Borders will be shown at 5:20 p.m. on rbb television or in advance in the media library," says Katrin Günther.
The National Games will start on 19 June at 7:30 p.m. with a big opening ceremony in the stadium An der Alten Försterei. Celebrating with the athletes* is no problem. Tickets are required for some sports as well as for the opening and closing ceremonies. Information is available here.
A feeling almost like at the Olympic Games: In addition to the entry of the athletes, the entry of the Special Olympics torch, there will also be a varied entertainment program with the Berlin band MiA. in the center. The anthem of the Games will be sung at the raising of the flag by Claudia Emmanuela Santoso, winner of The Voice of Germany 2019. Guitarist Uwe Bossert has given the anthem a modern twist. Claudia Emmanuela Santoso: "It was fun to work with Uwe to adapt and arrange the anthem to my vocal range, to give it a poppy vibe. I'm honored to then perform the anthem in the stadium at the opening of the National Games, and I'm confident that the power of it will come across."
They will all be part of the Opening Ceremony, which will be hosted by actor Sebastian Urbanski, who was the first person with trisomy 21 to speak in the Bundestag, and ARD presenter Franziska Schenk.
From 19 to 24 June the athletes will then also compete for their starting places for the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023, which will be held in Germany for the first time.
"This is my big goal. To be part of the World Games in my hometown. I've already been to the torch relay in the Olympic Stadium now, before the soccer cup final. That's where I want to go again next year - for the Opening Ceremony," says Juliana Rößler.
In Berlin, the competitions in 20 sports can be watched at the following sports venues:
- Olympiapark: Football (Maifeld), Beach Volleyball, Triathlon, Athletics
- Reitclub at Olympiapark: Equestrian
- Horst-Korber-Sportzentrum: Handball
- Eissporthalle Charlottenburg: Roller Skating, Table Tennis
- SC Brandenburg, Harbigstraße: Tennis
- Messe Berlin: Judo, Basketball, Badminton
- Schwimm- und Sporthalle at Europasportpark: Swimming, Powerlifting
- Regattastrecke Grünau: Kayaking, Open Water Swimming
- Straße des 17. Juni: Cycling
- Bad Saarow: Golf
Due to the conditions in the sports facilities, it is unfortunately not possible for spectators to watch the competitions at Boccia (Rudolf Harbig Hall) and Bowling (Bowling World, Mercedes Square).