President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias will officially declare the opening of the "Athens 2011" Special Olympics on June 25, at the Panathenian Stadium in central Athens. This was announced on Tuesday by the head of the Special Olympics organising committee Joanna Despotopoulou, who also unveiled details of the opening and closing ceremonies, overseen by Fokas Evangelinos.
The opening ceremony will feature a greeting by Prime Minister George Papandreou and Special Olympics International Chairman Dr. Timothy Shriver, while several heads of state, ministers, athletes and celebrities will be among the guests on the opening night.
Soul music legend Stevie Wonder and his band will be in charge of the music at the opening ceremony, while tenor Vittorio Grigolo and Greek singer Alkistis Protopsalti will perform a song specially written for the Athens Games by composer Stefanos Korkolis, which will be broadcast live for the first time. Presenters during the ceremony will be George Kapoutzidis and Maria Menounos.
Despotopoulou noted that both the opening and closing ceremonies had been designed "with a sense of moderation" and that they were the only events during the Special Olympics where one needed a ticket to attend, inviting all to attend and contribute to the Special Olympics movement.