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2016 Summer Olympics opening ceremony

The opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics took place on the evening of Friday 5 August 2016 in the Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, starting at 20:00 BRT (23:00 UTC). As mandated by the Olympic Charter, the proceedings combined the formal ceremonial opening of this international sporting event (including welcoming speeches, hoisting of the flags and the parade of athletes, as well as a new feature—the presentation of the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Laurel distinction) with an artistic spectacle to showcase the host nation’s culture and history.

Directed by Fernando Meirelles, Daniela Thomas and Andrucha Waddington, the ceremony featured presentations of the history and culture of Brazil, including its landscape and forests, the history of the Portuguese people, music and samba, and the favelas among other aspects. Portions of the ceremony were also dedicated to the topics of environmental conservation and climate change. The Games were officially opened by Acting President of Brazil Michel Temer.

Despite having a significantly lower budget than those of other recent Olympics, the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics was praised by the international media for its vivid, diverse performances, emphasis on multiculturalism, and its appeal to the issue of climate change.

 

Prologue

The opening ceremony began with aerial images of the city of Rio de Janeiro in a music video with the song “Aquele Abraço”, sung by Luiz Melodia. There was a brief instrumental version of Marcos Valle’s “Samba de Verão” (or “Summer Samba”) during the portion with performers in silver suits with giant silver sheets. After the projection of the first images, the International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach was introduced. Singer Paulinho da Viola sang the Brazilian National Anthem on a stage inspired by the architectural forms of Oscar Niemeyer. The singer was accompanied by a string orchestra. Brazil’s flag was raised and 60 flags were carried by Olympic Brazilian athletes Virna Dias, Robson da Silva, Maurren Maggi and Flávio Canto, and children

Artistic performances

The artistic performances were set into motion with an homage paid to the spirit of gambiarra, defined by the organizers as “the Brazilian talent for making the most out of nothing”. In this part of the opening ceremony, Brazilian design was honored with references to Athos Bulcão, indigenous geometry, African prints and Portuguese tiles. Peace and sustainability were featured with the transformation of the peace symbol projection into a tree.