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18 images that will remind you how amazing the Special Olympics opening ceremony was

It’s 10 years ago today since the 2003 Games got going at Croke Park.
Jun 21st 2013, 8:00 AM 9,356 29

TEN YEARS AGO today, Ireland put on a show for the world as we welcomed the Special Olympics World Summer Games.

Thousands filled Croke Park for an amazing opening ceremony on 21 June, 2003, on a night that featured international rock stars, some of our most successful sports people and global icons.  But the Irish and visiting Olympic athletes took centre stage.

These pictures might bring it all back.

The teams arrive in GAA HQ

Damien Duff was one of many well-known faces who joined the parade

Croker never looked so well

After Diarmuid O’Sullivan, Arnie became the most built man to grace the hallowed turf

Atheltes like Ireland’s Niall Gillen had the craic

Muhammad Ali dropped into Dublin 9. No biggie

It got emotional… this Austrian visitor shed a tear

Burkino Faso athletes took it all in

Jon Bon Jovi was mobbed by members of the Cyprus team

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Colour filled the Hogan Stand

President Mary McAleese addressed the crowd

And performers kept the party going

Roy Keane took a back seat as Catriona Ryan read the athletes’ oath

Samantha Mumba showed up

And the torch arrived in to the stadium with much fanfare

U2 took top billing

Apart from Nelson Mandela, who joined Bono and Co on stage

A spectacular fireworks display marked the end of the ceremony

What are your memories of the night?

‘O’Brien didn’t put a foot wrong but has to watch from the stands’ — Shane Byrne

In pictures: Irish Lions show George North how to hurl in Brisbane

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Adrian Russell


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