The 2016 Olympic Games have been officially opened with a colourful and dazzling show at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
The opening ceremony, which was broadcast to an estimated audience of three billion on Friday night, was a flamboyant celebration of the Brazilian culture and history, as well as diversity around the world.
After an exuberant show of light, music and breathtaking fireworks, former marathon runner Vanderlei Cordeiro lit an Olympic cauldron that morphed into a spectacular golden disco ball.
The highlights of the four-hour opening ceremony included supermodel Giselle Bundchen’s catwalk across the pitch to Brazilian hit “The Girl From Ipanema,” the arrival of Brazil’s team of athletes, and of course, the crowning point of the night – the moment when the cauldron was lit by De Lima.
More than 200 countries took part in the Parade of Nations in a show masterminded by the acclaimed film director Fernando Ferreira Meirelles, best known for his work on “City of God.” The Great Britain team was led into the arena in Rio by Wimbledon champion Andy Murray.
This year’s edition of the Olympics is also known as the Games of the 31st Olympiad, but in reality it is the 28th edition to be held, as those in 1916, 1940 and 1944 did not take place because of war.
Despite Brazil’s challenging political and economic situation at the moment, with a build-up dominated by a divisive doping scandal, the Zika virus, and worries regarding the city’s infrastructure and security, Rio de Janeiro is now ready to entertain the world with a plethora of sporting events.
10,500 athletes from 206 nations and a refugee team will participate in competitions in 28 sports between 5 and 21 August, in the first Olympics ever held in South America.