Special Olympics Netherlands Hosts First Ever Online Games!

Highlights from the Opening Ceremony of Special Olympics Netherlands Unified Moves

Not even a global pandemic could stop Special Olympics Netherlands from having the time of their lives at their first ever online National Games: Unified Moves! Even though health concerns and quarantine restrictions forced the team to cancel the traditional event, Special Olympics Netherlands and Coca-Cola welcomed everyone to join a brilliant online event from the safety of their own homes!

Special Olympics Netherlands Online Games kicked off at 8pm on Friday 12 June 2020 with an exciting Opening Ceremony hosted by TV presenter Toine van Peperstraten. The Ceremony started with the journey of the Flame of Hope, which travelled through previous locations for the National Games to the ADO Stadium in The Hague, where Global Ambassador and Special Olympics skater Lize Weerdenburg officially opened the event. Professional footballer Nathan Rutjes then hosted a warm up session to prepare the attendees for a long night of dancing and the two days of online competition that followed!

Mascot  DJing on a platform in a stadium.
Special Olympics Netherlands mascot, Kees Konijn, as a DJ for the Unified Moves Friday night dance party!

Around 2,500 people all over The Netherlands tuned in on Friday night to participate in the dance workshop and attend the online show. A special thanks must be given to Coca-Cola for their incredible support in making Unified Moves possible and helping Special Olympics to stay close to its athletes in a time of isolation.

Special Olympics medalist Lize Weerdenburg thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, “It was great!” she said, “I saw plenty of well-known athletes. I thought it was so cool to be mentioned alongside some important people, and that I could participate in the opening ceremony—that was such a huge honour! Doing sports and dancing online was fun to do, too.”

The night concluded with Dutch singer John Dame rendition of “You Will Never Walk Alone” and the incredible news that the next edition of the Special Olympics Netherlands National Games will be held in 2021!

“I’d really like to see the National Games go back to how they used to be—with a full stadium of happy fans, the athletes showing off their skills and able to see everyone so happy. I would like to ask all of the athletes to go that extra mile to make the 2021 games better than ever!”
Lize Weerdenburg

Recommended Content
Athlete Federico Correzzola on the Special Olympics Italy Smart Games banner.
With the world in lockdown over the past months, Special Olympics programmes across Europe Eurasia were forced to cancel or postpone activities to protect the health of athletes and their families.
3 Min Read
Three athletes sitting on a platform working out.
Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, athletes across the Europe Eurasia region have been looking for ways to keep active and stay connected to their communities.
2 Min Read
Vladimir “Vanja” Grbic in a huddle with athletes holding a volleyball.
During his time of Covid-19 lockdown in Serbia, Olympic Volleyball legend and Special Olympics Global Ambassador Vladimir “Vanja” Grbic took time to answer a range of questions from across our movement—from how to cope with social distancing to how to prepare for an Olympic final.
2 Min Read