Rio de Janeiro was selected to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Yahoo! Sports reported the Olympics began on Aug. 5, 2016. NBC aired the event at 7:30 p.m., EST when the opening ceremony started and was taped.
The event in Rio was initiated with the opening ceremony after two days of men and women’s soccer tournaments. However, because of NBC’s tape delay, Americans did not see any of the events until they were broadcasted at 8:00 p.m.
Creator of the opening and director of the film “City of God,” Fernando Meirelles said the artistic segment of the ceremony gave an image of what he anticipated Brazil would become. He also stated the opening was not as high tech as past ceremonies so the origin of Brazil’s beauty was shown.
Fellow creative director of the ceremony, Andrucha Waddington stated the event featured every category of Brazil’s history. The ceremony included the five-million slaves that were sent to Brazil from Africa.
Musicians from Rio, such as Caetano Veloso, Anitta, and Gilberto Gil performed at the opening ceremony. Anitta is the youngest artist to ever perform at the Latin Grammy Awards in 2014, and she is a platinum-award winning artist. Veloso has won two Grammys and will be joined by fellow political-activist musician Gil.
NPR stated that Gil and Veloso hosted a celebration that featured plentiful highlights of Brazil’s heritage and history. Various forms of Latin dancing was featured in this performance the 2016 Summer Olympics, hosted in Rio, Brazil.
There were 207 countries represented in the Parade of Nations, which included their flag-bearers who entered the Maracanã Stadium in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro.
Athletes carried tree seeds to advocate the ceremony’s pro-environmental message. They were placed in small planters on a wall, once the competitors reached their proper placement on the stage. The seeds were intended to become part of the Athletes Forest in Radical Park, which is the site of BMX, whitewater rafting, and mountain biking events in Deodoro.
American artist Anthony Howe spent close to one year working on the fan sculpture that spun in spellbinding waves with the wind. Howe worked on the polished sculpture at his studio in Orcas Island, Washington.
Former World No. 1 tennis player Gustavo Kuerten ushered the Olympic flame into the Rio stadium where the games were hosted. He passed the flame to the Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, Hortência Marcari. The torch was then passed to Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima, a runner who competed in the 2004 Summer Olympic in Athens, Greece and won a bronze medal.
“The Washington Post” reported the opening ceremonies, which lasted for four hours, had a rising feel. Those who watched the stadium that hosted the event, in Rio were treated to fireworks, lights, and circus-like acrobatics. The ceremony also had a Samba singalong that featured the nation’s party-loving style.
The celebration occurred in the midst of one of the nation’s most dire recessions in recent memory, plus political turmoil, and the suspension of its current president. However, the opening ceremony hosted in Rio did not dwell on the recent chaos in Brazil. The focus was the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Brazil is the first South American country to host the Summer Olympics. Greece, England, and Spain are all countries that have hosted the Summer Olympics in the past. Los Angeles, California hosted the event twice, in 1932 and 1984, in the United States.
By John A. Federico
Edited by Jeanette Smith
Yahoo! Sports: 2016 Rio Olympics daily viewer’s guide – The Opening Ceremony (Aug. 5)
NPR: Rio Throws A Party For The World, Kicking Off The 2016 Olympics
The Washington Post: Rio’s Olympic Opening Ceremonies had low budget, high appeal
Image Courtesy of Luciano Silva’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License