Tournaments and Events


  • Opening Ceremonies

    Young people audition to take part in the Opening Ceremony

    The Opening Ceremony is a celebration showcasing the best of the Host Nation. It also features a parade of all competing nations and the highly anticipated entrance of the Paralympic Flame, which ignites the Cauldron and signals the start of the Games.

    The London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony will include more than 3,000 adult volunteers, a children volunteer cast of over 100, and 100-plus professionals. In a groundbreaking, inclusive staging, the Ceremony will showcase the excellence of deaf and disabled artists and will open with a fly past by Aerobility, a British charity that trains disabled people to become pilots.

    Called ‘Enlightenment’, Co-Artistic Directors Jenny Sealey and Bradley Hemmings promise a spectacular celebration of the inspirational spirit of the Paralympic Games that challenges perceptions of human possibility. Fifty specialist performers are also taking part in an eight-week circus skills training programme at Circus Space in Hackney ahead of the Opening Ceremony.

    Parade of Athletes

    After the Host Nation's flag has been raised and the national anthem played, the spectacular Parade of Athletes will begin. Teams enter in alphabetical order, according to the language of the Host Country, apart from the team of the Host Nation (in this case ParalympicsGB), who march in last.


    Once all the nations have arrived into the Stadium, LOCOG Chair Seb Coe and President of the IPC Sir Philip Craven will address the audience. The Games will then be declared open.

    Paralympic Anthem and Flag

    Once the Games have been declared open, the Paralympic Flag is carried into the Stadium and hoisted into the air as the Anthem is played. The Paralympic Flag features three 'agitos' (Latin for 'I move') in red, blue and green – the colours most represented in national flags around the world.


    A participating athlete and judge from the Host Nation stand on the rostrum and, holding a corner of the IPC flag in their left hand and raising their right, take the Oath, vowing to compete and judge according to the rules of their respective sport.

    The Torch and Cauldron

    The big finale is the entrance of the Paralympic Flame into the Stadium. It is passed to the final Torchbearer, who will ceremoniously light the Cauldron, indicating the beginning of the Games. The Flame will continue to burn for the whole of the Games.

  • Vancouver 2010 Paralympics Opening Ceremonies

  • Closing Ceremonies

    Closing Ceremonies include a Handover from one Host City to the next

    The Closing Ceremony celebrates the achievements of athletes at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and includes a Handover from one Host City to the next. In 2012, London will hand over to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Paralympic Games. The Closing Ceremony also features the extinguishing of the Paralympic Flame, signalling the end of the Games.

    Coldplay have been announced as the star act of the London 2012 Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony. The Ceremony, called ‘Festival of Flame’, will see the band perform a live, one-off concert in the Olympic stadium, broadcast to an estimated worldwide audience of 750 million.

    March of the Athletes

    The flagbearers of the participating delegations enter the Stadium in single file, closely followed by the athletes – a show of unity after 11 days of intense competition.

    After the Paralympic Flag has been lowered, the flag of the country hosting the next Summer Olympic Games (Brazil) will be raised. The Mayor of the Host City (London) then joins the President of the IPC on the rostrum and returns the Paralympic Flag to him. The President of the IPC then symbolically presents this to the Mayor of the next Host City of the Games (Rio de Janeiro).

    Handover Ceremony / Extinguishing of the Flame

    The Paralympic Flame, which has been burning in the Cauldron since the opening of the Games, is then extinguished – a poignant and moving moment for all those involved in the Games and the audience at large. 

    (Images/Content courtesy of the International Paralympic Committee)