Special Olympics World Games in Berlin

19.06.2023  — 

The world’s largest inclusive sports event said farewell to Berlin this weekend. Around 7,000 athletes with intellectual and multiple disabilities had come to the Special Olympics World Games. Employees of IAV and its subsidiary Consulting4Drive (C4D) were also on site as volunteer helpers – the company is supporting the event as a sponsor.

Special Olympics Maskottchen
Unity is the name of the mascot of the Special Olympic World Games in Berlin 2023.

“We are delighted to be a partner of the Special Olympics,” says Michael Junger, Managing Director of C4D. He says it’s important to him “to get actively involved as well: to create encounters and be part of a common path to a more inclusive world.”

Dr. Uwe Horn, CEO of IAV, adds: “Our commitment is an opportunity to directly help shape tangible social change – towards a way of living together that is characterized by respect and appreciation for every human being.”

This was already evident at the opening ceremony in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, when 50,000 visitors enthusiastically greeted the athletes from around the world. “One goosebump moment followed the other,” writes Ivo Banek on the social network LinkedIn.

Special Olympics Eroeffnung
Opening ceremony at the Olympiastadion in Berlin

The celebrities from sports, culture and politics – including basketball star Dirk Nowitzki, the Blue Man Group, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Olaf Scholz – played “supporting roles” that evening, Banek writes. “Because the main role belonged to the athletes, who came to the stadium with their teams from 174 countries in a parade.”

“Fantastic to be part of it,” writes Carsten Rinka, also an IAV volunteer at the Games. “It’s just fun to see the enthusiasm and passion of the athletes and volunteers!”

Special Olympics Carsten Rinka
Carsten Rinka: one of the IAV volunteers at the Special Olympics World Games

“Wishing I could have done and seen more,” writes Nadège Ericsson after her last shift as a volunteer. “It was so much fun to meet athletes and volunteers from all over the world.”

Her advice: “If you have not been: go and see for yourself!”

Special Olympics Nadege Ericsson
Nadège Ericsson at work at the Special Olympics

“I am proud and grateful to be part of it,” adds IAV colleague Andreas Cremer.

The total of around 16,000 volunteers helped at the competitions, with logistics, catering and in many other areas.

Special Olympics Merchandise
Andreas Cremer (right) and Ivo Banek with a fellow volunteer at the fan shop, their place of work at the Games

On Sunday, 25 June, the Special Olympics World Games were closed with a huge ceremony at the Brandenburg Gate. Also the time for the IAV and C4D volunteers came to an end.

“This week in Berlin was special: a truly inclusive world, for eight days, in a bubble”, wrote Ivo Banek at LinkedIn. “How cool would it be to make this not special, but, well – just normal.”

Special Olympics Christiane Krueger
Excited: IAV volunteer Christiane Krüger