Rio Olympics Opening Packed with ‘Brazilian Vibe’
The opening ceremony for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will showcase samba, culture, diversity and history as the South American nation proudly shows off its traditions and environmental wonders.
Millions of TV viewers from around the world watched the 3-hour ceremony Friday night.
Since the event was not able to avoid the issues that are gripping Brazil the organizers made sure that global warming and the environment, especially the country’s magnificent Amazon rainforest, are important parts of the Olympic opening ceremony.
“The world is very tense and so is Brazil. We are also willing to tell the world to stop attacking our home. The world is threatened because of global warming. We are calling for action,” said Fernando Meirelles, one of the directors of the show.
Samba and pop music singers are expected to perform, including Grammy award winners Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen were also on hand.
The climax of the show, the lighting of the cauldron, depended on whether Pele, Brazil’s most famous athlete appeared. He said this week he was invited to take part, but business deals were stopping him from doing it.
The cauldron was designed by American sculptor Anthony Howe, who said he was inspired by life in the tropics. There will be 2 cauldrons in Rio, 1 at the Maracana soccer stadium that is hosting the opening ceremony and another open to the public in downtown Rio.
The cauldron in central Rio is was lit by a runner after the opening ceremony finished.
In all, 4,800 performers and volunteers were involved in the show, which is built on 3 basic pillars of life in Brazil.
Those are sustainability, particularly re-forestation; finding joy in life and in being Brazilian; and the idea of “gambiarra,” the quirky Brazilian art of improvising repairs using whatever parts are available.
“Smile is the approach the Brazilians have toward life,” said Marco Balich, the Executive Producer. “Brazil is not a grand nation. They’re saying in this ceremony, we are who we are, with a lot of social problems, a lot of crises in the political system, etc.”
NBC broadcast the opening ceremony on a 1-hour tape delay because it wanted the entertainment spectacle to be shown completely in US prime time. Rio is 1 hour later than Eastern Daylight Time.
Have a terrific weekend…