The largest inclusive sporting event in the world, the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023, will be the first time that Germany will host the Games and the first Games to recognise the Sunflower lanyard. Staff and volunteers are ready to assist athletes, delegates and visitors who choose to wear the Sunflower.

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is the globally-recognised symbol for invisible disability. It gives the wearer the opportunity to clearly signal that they have a hidden disability and may need additional assistance, as well as time or just a little patience during their time at the Games.

The Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 will be the largest multi-sport event in Germany since the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. From 17 – 25 June 2023, 7,000 Special Olympics athletes with intellectual disabilities from 190 delegations will compete in 26 sports. The athletes will be supported by more than 3,000 coaches and 20,000 volunteers.

Intellectual disability is the largest developmental disability in the world. According to the World Health Organisation, up to three percent - or nearly 200 million people - of the world’s population have intellectual disabilities.

“Not all Special Olympics athletes have a disability that is recognizable, that is why The Sunflower is such a fantastic initiative and important for our games. It will help make the invisible visible and allow athletes to be treated with the extra attention they need”,

said Albert Tuemann Chief Marketing and Communication of the Special Olympics Berlin 2023.

Sunflower wearers arriving through Berlin Airport, the first German Airport to launch the Sunflower lanyard earlier this year, can look forward to being given the assistance, a little more time or a little patience they may need at the airport.

Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Chief Executive, Paul White, said:

“We are excited that the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower will contribute to the accessibility and inclusivity of the Special Olympics World Games. Not only is it the first time that the Games will be held in Germany, but it will be the first time the Sunflower symbol will be recognised at the Games.

“It means that anyone who wears the Sunflower at the Games will be supported when they need assistance, a little more time or a little patience.

“The Sunflower is a simple way of making the invisible visible, and encouraging participation and positive change in society.”

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is available for free from businesses that are members of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower global network or, the Sunflower lanyards, wristbands and pin badges can be purchased from our online shop here.