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Published on : Saturday, August 6, 2016
The ceremony has been broadcast to an estimated audience of three billion, it celebrated Brazil’s history, culture and natural beauty. Rebirth and regeneration was the message behind the vibrant opening ceremony.
Prior to the 11,000-plus athletes parading into the stadium, it was revealed each of them would plant a seed that would form a forest at Radical Park in Deodoro, containing a different species for each of the 207 competing nations.
Former marathon runner Vanderlei de Lima lit the Olympic cauldron.
From supermodel Gisele Bundchen’s tribute to the “Girl from Ipanema” to the promise of an athletes’ forest to be planted after the Games, Brazil’s big night saluted the country’s past and pointed towards a greener future. Brazil showed the world that we better start doing something about the environment or we may not have many Olympics to celebrate in the future.
Brazil carried out the event on a budget one-tenth the size of the equivalent in London four years ago.
Thomas Bach, President, International Olympic Committee, told the crowd that, the first ever Olympic Games in South America will go from Brazil to the entire world. He also added that with the Olympic Games as a catalyst, they have achieved in just seven years what generations before could only dream of. Brazil has transformed the city of Rio de Janeiro into a modern metropolis and made it even more beautiful.
During his speech, Bach also paid tribute to the refugee team which will compete in Rio under the Olympic flag.
The Games, the first to be held in South America, have also been disrupted by concerns over the Russian doping scandal, the Zika virus and problems with the city’s security, infrastructure and venues. Despite these threats, thousands of tourists from around the world have flocked at Rio to watch the spectacle.
While Rio’s event did not match the enormous ambition of the ceremony directed by Danny Boyle four years ago, those inside the Maracana were treated to a show that mixed light displays, fireworks, dancing and music. The show is the work of 35,000 professionals and roughly 12,000 volunteers. It featured 12 samba schools and required 5,500 costumes.Brazil’s flag bearer was modern pentathlete Yane Marques, who led the home team into the Maracana to a rapturous welcome, with the hosts bringing the parade of nations to a close.