Paralympic Games
7-18 September

Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony Speech

7 September – Sir Philip Craven, IPC President 07 Sep 2016
Sir Philip Craven - Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony

Sir Philip Craven during the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony.


Boa noite e bem vindos aos Rio a Cidade Maravilhosa e sejam muito bem vindos ao Maracanã.

Welcome to the start of Latin America’s first Paralympic Games.

One hundred and ninety four years ago today, Prince Dom Pedro I declared Brazil’s independence and tonight marks another new dawn in this country’s colourful and proud history.

The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will bring a new perspective to everyone in this country by showing that the human spirit knows no limits.

Over the next 12 days, through the performances of Paralympians, you will see the true meaning of sport and the true definition of ability.

You will witness how Paralympic sport has the ability to inspire an individual, and the outstanding capacity to transform communities, countries and continents.

In a country which has faced major challenges of late, Paralympians will switch your focus from perceived limitations, to a world full of possibility and endless opportunity. They will surprise you, inspire and excite you, but most of all they will change you.

Proud Paralympians you are role models for what the world wants to see in today’s sporting heroes. You see obstacles as opportunities, you fight for your rights and here in Rio you have a unique opportunity to make for a more equitable world. Your values tell people what you stand for and most importantly who you are.

With the eyes of the world upon you, I ask you to send a message to the world through sport. Through your performances tell your story, a narrative of inclusion, a tale of empowerment and a legend that hope will always conquer fear.

Show the world that there is no them, there is only us; a world where people of all abilities, races, nationalities and sexualities can come together as one. We are all part of one world.

Welcome to the 159 participating National Paralympic Committees and most of all show your support to the first ever Independent Paralympic Athletes team featuring two refugee athletes. At a Games full of inspiring stories, yours may well be the most inspiring of all.

Athletes you arrive ready to maximise your abilities and empower others to participate in sport. We have done our best to ensure a level playing field for all; in return I ask you to play fair, abide by the rules and most of all have fun doing what you do best!

You have before you one of the world’s most beautiful cities, Rio is powered by its people and the Cariocas know what these Games will do for driving social inclusion.

Special thanks to the Federal Government, every Rio 2016 employee, the great volunteers and International Federations for making these Games possible. Thank you to the IOC for their support.

Finalmente obrigado aos Cariocas e Brasileiros.

[Finally, thank you to the Cariocas and the people of Brazil].

In the last weeks you have shown great desire to make these your Games, the People’s Games.

Muito obrigado.

It is now my honour to invite the President of Brazil, Mr. Michel Temer to declare open the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.