It has been a tough journey for Rio de Janeiro, despite the difficulties since their bid for host eight years ago, as the first South American city to hold an Olympic Games, they gave a captivating and heartwarming opening ceremony on Friday night. During the evening we were taken on a journey of life, beauty and vitality that is seen within Brazilian people and scenery. We have pulled together some of the show’s highlights which got the 2016 Olympics underway.
The legendary Maracanã Stadium was transformed into a sea of mesmerising blue light representing the beginning of life. Dancers with foil pillows re-created an oceanic floor, as the count down echoed around the stadium. The Opening Ceremony had begun.
Director Fernando Meirelles, faced a difficult job. To create a memorable spectacle with only a tenth of the budget London had for their opening show. Focusing on the natural beauty of Brazil, he creatively used light, dancers and simple materials to build a stunning representation of the South American environment.
Brazil is a vibrant country with so much diversity. The opening ceremony re-told stories of the different cultures who came and settled in the country, from the original indigenous tribes, to the first Portuguese explorers. A tribute to the African slaves, brought over by ships, was enacted by incredible man powered wheels, acrobats swerved in and out of the spindles as it crossed the stage. More nations joined from Western Europe, the Middle East and Asia to make it a truly inclusive event for all.
The crowd was amazed as Parkour athletes jumped about the stage, an incredible 3D light appeared to turn the flat stadium floor into an growing urban Rio, whilst simple cardboard buildings made a platform for the dancers of the night.
Then, to the sound of ‘A Girl From Ipenema’, Brazil’s very own supermodel Gisele Bundchen turned the full stadium into her very own catwalk, and her last. With only a spot-light and an enticing silver dress, by Brazilian fashion designer Alexandre Herchcovitch, she mesmerised the entire audience.
Dance was the major theme of Rio’s ceremony. The vibrancy of Brazil’s people was perfectly captured by the energetic break-dancers, hip-hop groovers and samba movers. From the calm start, an absolute Rio carnival sprung to life! The stage was lit up in array of colours and lights as lively samba music boomed around the stadium – this was Brazil doing what Brazil do best, party!
It was time for the athletes to get involved in the celebration. All 207 countries, participating in the games, paraded through the stadium proudly with their teammates and waving the nation’s flags. From the big medal winners such as USA, Australia and China to the smaller first competing nationalities, everyone got into the spirit of the party. The biggest roar went to the Refugee Olympic Team, ten independent participants have come together to compete for refugees worldwide and as a symbol of the refugee crisis happening at this very moment.
In the mix, Team GB took to the stage, led by a very honoured Andy Murray proudly holding the team’s flag, one-handed!
An explosion of lush greenery formed the iconic Olympic rings, a symbol that 2016 is “The Green Games”. The ceremony was coming to it’s end, the Olympic torch lit the beacon, a flurry of fireworks sprung from the stadium roof and Rio had delivered what it promised, “the coolest show”.