Dr Schriver hoped the Games would serve as an encouragement to the people of Greece who are suffering under difficult economic conditions.
"Despite all the difficulties and challenges this country is facing, Greece did not fail us and the athletes of Special Olympics will not fail Greece!"
As the 10,000 Special Olympics athletes and coaches from across the world settled in to the stadium, everyone welcomed legendary singer, songwriter, musician and producer Stevie Wonder.
Stevie opened with his song 'You can feel it' followed by 'You are the sunshine of my life' which got the crowd on their feet and dancing.
Following the performance of his classic hits Mr Wonder addressed the athletes drawing on the inspiring life of Ms late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of Special Olympics.
"Her vision has helped the world appreciate the value of all human beings. Eunice made us understand that we are all special. Our dreams are only limited by our vision."
The opening ceremony combined the new Greece with the old with Homer's "Odyssey" being performed. Other highlights included performances by singing sensation Alkistis Protopsalti, tenor Vittorio Grigolo, and also special presentations by actress Zhang Ziyi and actress Maria Menounos.
His Excellency Dr. Karolos Papoulias, Hellenic Republic President then declared the Games officially opened, at which time the Special Olympics flag was walked in to the stadium carried by Pyros Dimas, Nadia Comaneci, Edwin Moses, Michelle Kwan, Jermaine Edie, Ana Miliovojevic and Ana Eduarda.