This year’s Olympics opening ceremony didn’t disappoint. It was a massive welcome party for its guests who turned up from over 200 countries.
The colourful event that was at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro was a vibrant celebration of rich history and culture.
The ceremony focused on environmental issues, particularly global warming.
The show drew homegrown stars, like supermodel Gisele Bundchen, who walked across the stadium to the sound of Bossa Nova hit “Girl from Ipanema”.
One of the warmest cheers of the evening was given to a team consisting of refugee athletes-the first ever at any Olympics.
The spotlight of the night was on the Russian team, which has been whittled down to 271 athletes from an initial 389 following doping allegations. The low side of the event was Brazil’s interim President Michel Temer who declared open the first Games ever in South America was booed by a section of the crowd due to the political scandal engulfing Brazil.
An estimated global audience of three billion watched the ceremony.
Kenya’s Kipchoge Keino, 76, became the first ever recipient of the Olympic Laurel at Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony while the final touch bearer was Brazilian long-distance runner Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima who lit the Olympic cauldron.
Football legend Pele had ruled himself out of performing citing health challenges. Amidst protest outside the stadium, there were positive reactions of national pride.
“Wonderful and the most important part was the music – from Flamengo, Jorge Ben Jor. It was amazing. Brazil is completely in good moment for the Olympic Games. I hope we have wonderful games in Brazil.”
After years of preparation, and months of protests the Olympics have begun. The world’s largest sporting event is officially underway as athletes are gunning for various medals.
It's lit 🔥— Rio 2016 (@Rio2016_en) August 6, 2016
📍 Candelária Church pic.twitter.com/6NZdjXnpkS
Rio’s Olympics are costing nearly $12 billion but critics argue even legacy projects like a new metro line, bus highways and massive real estate developments have done little to improve the lives of the city’s marginalized.