ABOUT WORLD GAMES BERLIN 2023
The Special Olympics World Games are the world’s largest inclusive sports event. Thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities compete together in 26 sports. Nine days of exciting and inspiring competitions, by athletes and for athletes.
From June 17-15 2023, the Special Olympics World Games will take place in Berlin – the first time that Germany will host the Games!
We are looking forward to a colorful international festival of sports – with the aim of achieving greater recognition and social participation of people with intellectual disabilities in our society.
ABOUT THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS USA DELEGATION
A 201-member delegation will represent the United States at the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023. Special Olympics USA is comprised of 133 athletes and Unified partners, 38 coaches and 23 delegation members who support team operations. Athletes will compete in 14 of the 26 sports offered: athletics, basketball, bocce, bowling, cycling, golf, gymnastics (artistic or rhythmic), kayaking, powerlifting, sailing, soccer, swimming, tennis, and volleyball.
The delegation also includes Special Olympics Unified Sports® teams where people with and without intellectual disabilities compete together, as teammates. Special Olympics USA will have representation in the following Unified Sports®: basketball, bocce, bowling, golf, sailing, soccer, tennis, and volleyball.
Included in the delegation are two athletes and two coaches representing Wisconsin in two sports. Read more about Special Olympics Wisconsin’s representatives below.
Madison, Wis. (6-12 West Madison)
Peter Liu of Madison, Wis., has competed in Special Olympics since 2009 in snowshoeing, swimming, tennis, and volleyball. He will represent Special Olympics USA in swimming. As an athlete, Peter has made new friends and has learned to do his best. In 2014, he competed in swimming at the Special Olympics USA Games.
He is employed at a Madison-area retailer, where he helps to keep the store organized. In addition to sports training, he enjoys playing the piano and guitar. He admires his friends and his church group, which supports individuals with intellectual disabilities. Peter takes great pride in representing his state and country in the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023.
Rice Lake, Wis. (3-30 Barron County)
Chelsie Workman of Rice Lake, Wis., has been involved in Special Olympics for 11 years. She has competed in athletics, basketball, bowling, and softball. At the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023, she will represent Special Olympics USA in athletics. Special Olympics has taught Chelsie the importance of commitment and how to be a team player.
Chelsie is a stay-at-home mom and takes great pride in her son. They enjoy spending time together by playing video games. She most admires her mother, who taught her to never give up. That drive is what led her to the World Games.
Bonita “Bonnie” Kahn of Tomahawk, Wis., has been active with Special Olympics Wisconsin for more than 30 years, coaching and serving on several Games Management Teams at the local level for athletics, bowling, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Bonnie will represent Special Olympics USA as an assistant coach in athletics. As a coach, she has attended eight Special Olympics World Games and two Special Olympics USA Games. In coaching Special Olympics, Bonnie has found her true passion in life. Her many achievements include recognition as Special Olympics Wisconsin Coach of the Year.
Six years ago, Bonnie retired from teaching from the School District of Tomahawk, where she served as pool director and taught physical and adaptive physical education. Coaching in the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 means helping athletes reach their highest potential, being part of an experience that will change their lives forever.
Steve Meurett of Neillsville, Wis., has coached Special Olympics athletes for the past 38 years. He will represent Special Olympics USA as head coach in athletics, attending his 10th Special Olympics World Games. As a volunteer, Steve serves on the Special Olympics Wisconsin sports management team and is a certified coaching instructor. Steve is a certified USA Track & Field coach and takes great pride in working with Special Olympics athletes. Recognizing his service, he was recognized as Special Olympics Wisconsin Coach of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.
He is employed as a wildlife technician for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. In his free time, he volunteers building trails, hikes, bikes and skis. He is also interested in photography and wolf research. In the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023, he looks forward to coaching many amazing athletes and working with fellow coaches.
ABOUT THE WORLD DELEGATION
More than 7,000 athletes representing 190 delegations (countries and regions)
1,100 Coaches and Officials
SPORTS & VENUES
A total of 26 sports will take place at eight venues over nine days of competition. See the full list here.
Wisconsin’s trio of Chelsie Workman, Bonnie Kahn, and Steve Meurett will take part in Athletics (Track & Field), which takes place at Hanns-Braun-Stadion on the grounds of Olympiapark. Peter Liu will compete in Swimming which takes place at the Schwimm-Sprunghalle im Europasportpark (SSE).
SCHEDULE & RESULTS
Below are the events in which SOWI athletes are a part. Times listed are Central Daylight Time (local to Wisconsin).
Quarterfinals: Monday, June 19 – Level B3 – Heat 2
WORKMAN: 2.64 (4th)
Semifinals: Wednesday, June 21 – Level B3 – Heat 6
WORKMAN: 2.07 (4th)
Finals: Friday, June 23 – Level B3
WORKMAN: 2.62 (2nd)
Quarterfinals: Wednesday, June 21 – Level A3 – Heat 3
WORKMAN: 1:18.73 (3rd)
Semifinals: Thursday, June 22 – Level A3 – Heat 3
WORKMAN: 1:22.40 (8th)
Finals: Friday, June 23 – Level A3
WORKMAN: 1:20.70 (3rd)
Semifinals: Monday, June 19 – Heat 1
UNITED STATES: 6:11.56 (2nd)
Finals: Saturday, June 24
UNITED STATES: No Time (DSQ)
Semifinals: Sunday, June 18 – Level A
LIU: 4.26.03 (6th)
Finals: Friday, June 23 – Level A
LIU: 4:19.75 (6th)
100m Individual Medley
Semifinals: Sunday, June 18 – Heat 2
LIU: No Result (DSQ)
Finals: Friday, June 23
LIU: 1:52.58 (3rd)
4×50 Medley Relay
Semifinals: Monday, June 19 – Heat 2
UNITED STATES: 3:12.87 (6th)
Finals: Thursday, June 22 – Level C01
UNITED STATES: 3:07.48 (2nd)
TV & MEDIA COVERAGE
Coverage from Germany will be hosted by multiple ESPN outlets, some of which require a subscription. Below are the events in which SOWI athletes and coaches may be a part. Times listed are Central Daylight Time (local to Wisconsin).
Saturday, June 17 – 2 p.m. – Opening Ceremony – ESPN3/ESPN+
Monday, June 19 – 1:55 a.m. – Track & Field – ESPN3/ESPN+
Tuesday, June 20 – 1:55 a.m. – Track & Field – ESPN3/ESPN+
Tuesday, June 20 – 1:55 a.m. & 6:25 a.m. – Swimming – ESPN3/ESPN+
Wednesday, June 21 – 1:55 a.m. – Track & Field – ESPN3/ESPN+
Wednesday, June 21 – 1:55 a.m. & 6:25 a.m. – Swimming – ESPN3/ESPN+
Thursday, June 22 – 1:55 a.m. – Track & Field – ESPN3/ESPN+
Thursday, June 22 – 1:55 a.m. & 6:25 a.m. – Swimming – ESPN3/ESPN+
Friday, June 23 – 1:55 a.m. – Track & Field – ESPN3/ESPN+
Friday, June 23 – 1:55 a.m. & 6:25 a.m. – Swimming – ESPN3/ESPN+
Saturday, June 24 – 1:55 a.m. – Track & Field – ESPN3/ESPN+
Saturday, June 24 – 1:55 a.m. & 6:25 a.m. – Swimming – ESPN3/ESPN+
Sunday, June 25 – 1:55 a.m. – Track & Field – ESPN3/ESPN+
The Opening Ceremony is the first real goosebumps moment of every big sporting event. It will set the tone for the entire Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 and will provide a lasting impression. Everyone can look forward to a spectacular show featuring well-known artists, the official Olympics ceremonial elements, and the highly anticipated Parade of Athletes.
Special Olympics Wisconsin athlete and Neillsville native Daina Shilts will join ESPN”s Kevin Neghandi and Jen Lada as hosts for the Opening Ceremony coverage, with reporting from Tim Tebow and Julie Foudy. Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts will serve as the Master of Ceremony.
LAW ENFORCEMENT TORCH RUN
The Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR®) is a long-lasting tradition at the Special Olympic World Games and gets everyone excited about the upcoming event.
The Special Olympics Flame of Hope™ was lit on June 7 in Athens, Greece, and will then travel through Germany before arriving ceremoniously at the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023.
Joel Wener of the Pepin County Sheriff’s Office is representing Wisconsin at the World Games Berlin 2023.
The Closing Ceremony is not only a big celebration but also an opportunity for all participants and visitors to celebrate accomplishments, enjoy the community and to say farewell.
OTHER WORLD GAMES PROGRAMMING
Host Town Program
Inclusive together – Germany’s largest inclusion movement
Berlin is where the music will be played in June 2023, but the orchestra will come from all over the country. The Host Town Program (June 12-15, 2023) is a unique project that will welcome international athletes to the 2023 Special Olympics World Games.
More than 200 Host Towns, more than 200 communal projects have been selected to welcome delegations from all over the world – from 6 to 300 members – to Germany. The largest communal inclusion project in Germany’s history will create a new sense of togetherness while opening up space for encounters far beyond the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023.
A celebration for everyone
The whole of Germany will play a role in hosting the largest inclusive sporting event in the world. The Host Towns will organize a four-day stay that will highlight what their individual community has to offer. This could include a welcome party on the town hall square, joint sports activities, or excursions to places of interest; whatever special experiences the town would like to share with the visiting delegation.
Healthy Athletes Screenings
Healthy Athletes® is the world’s largest inclusive health program focused on the needs of people with intellectual disabilities. It was founded in 1997 by Special Olympics.
Special Olympics’ goal is to improve the long-term health care of people with intellectual disabilities by:
- Targeting group-specific consultations and examinations
- Increasing health competencies of athletes
- Educating and increasing awareness among healthcare professionals
- Initiating political processes to improve health care
Since 1997, the Healthy Athletes® program has provided more than 2.4 million health screenings worldwide.
These interventions have a special meaning for people with intellectual disabilities. Even in today’s world, many people with intellectual disabilities face severe health disparities when it comes to prevention and treatment. This is why people with intellectual disabilities are at higher risk for additional health limitations and often have poorer health in many areas.
Healthy Athletes® aims to reduce this and break down barriers to health care. The program provides participants with free health screenings, education, and referrals for continued treatment in an accessible environment.
Healthy Athletes disciplines at World Games Berlin 2023 include Health Promotion, FUNFitness, Special Smiles, Fit Feet, Opening Eyes, Healthy Hearing, and Strong Minds.
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