UNIFIED MOMENT: The Games opens with a roar
A collection of images of connection from the opening ceremony
Last night’s opening ceremony was one of the biggest parties the UAE has ever held. From start to finish it was an unprecedented celebration of unity, acceptance, and collaboration. It was a collaboration between the people of determination in their direction and ideas that helped choreograph the impactful main performance. It was a collaboration between the UAE and the rest of the world as the UAE leaders welcomed and set the tone for the most unified Games in history and it was a collaboration between the enthusiastic and supportive crowd and the elated athletes who lapped up every second of their procession.
After speeches and an electric performance of the Games anthem ‘Right Where I am Supposed to Be’ from Avril Lavigne, Hussain Al Jasmi, Tamer Hosni and Luis Fonsi the event culminated with the lighting of the cauldron with the ‘Flame of Hope’. As the cauldron rose up through the center of the stadium, the spirits of the crowd continued to rise, charged and ready for a Special Olympics Games that they will remember and cherish for the rest of their lives – a Games that will leave a lasting impact of inclusion around the UAE, the region and the world.
Throughout the Games, this blog will present highlights and stories from the sporting action each day, as well as posting the unified moment of the day – a snapshot of support, love, and inclusion that demonstrates and typifies the spirit of the Games. But first, here are some of the best pictures and unified moments from last night’s Opening Ceremony:
A Unified fly-by by Etihad
A warm welcome for the Special Olympics Italy
Already a champion!
Among the loudest supporters at Zayed Sports City last night!
Avril Lavigne belts out the Games anthem
Cheering the athletes with gusto
Fireworks light up the sky above Zayed Sports City Stadium
From the smallest nations to the largest - everyone is welcome!
Global band, NOW UNITED, spread message of inclusion!
Her Excellency Shamma bint Sohail Al Mazrouei and Special Olympics International ambassadors deliver speeches to thunderous applause
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan embraces a UAE Special Olympics athlete
People of determination literally set the tone of the opening performance
Remember Maria Kennedy Shriver
Roar for TEAM UAE!
Smiles all round
Special Olympics Egypt received a rapturous welcome
The colors of the most unified Games in history
The Flame of Hope arrives
The Opening Ceremony gets a thumbs up
The opening performance
The team that trains together, dances together
Traditional Emirati performers
UAE's own DJ Bliss on the decks