The Olympics embraced causes. This was the message transmitted in the opening ceremony of the Rio Games this Friday (the 5th). Refugees, inclusion and sustainability were the themes of the festivities at Maracanã.
In the midst of political tension, the country strove to show through the opening of the Games that it is a nation of social causes. Empowerment of people of African descent, of marginalized youth, homosexuals, transgenders, and environmental themes were all recognized at the festival.
From the formation of the world to the forest, the history of Brazil was told rapidly with reference to Indians, slaves and immigrants, to the population of the great cities and favelas (slums) of today.
At the beginning of the festivities, the public hadn’t yet filled the Maracanã stadium, but as the festivities continued the crowds continued to increase.
Before the messages began, the ceremony was adapted. Mention of interim President Michel Temer, which was originally programmed to be done after announcing the name of the IOC President, Thomas Bach, was skipped. Brazil & U.S Biz learned that the Games’ organizers feared that there would be booing at the event.
Outside of Maracanã stadium, there were protests against the holding of the Olympics. After a group tried to breach a barrier, military police deployed stun grenades to disperse the group protesting against the Games in Brazil.
To promote Brazil, the festivities counted on national icons.
The National Anthem was sung by Paulinho da Viola. During one scene, “The Girl from Ipanema” played while Gisele Bündchen entered, modeling around designs by architect Oscar Neimeyer, after Santos Dumont’s 14 Bis aircraft flew in Maracanã.
When Gisele walked in front of a prop of a favela (slum), the funk song “Rap da felicidade” (Happiness Rap) started with Ludimila.
During a rehearsal of the ceremony, there was controversy surrounding a scene with a supposed robbery of the model which was removed from the final presentation. Elza Sores, Zeca Pagodinho e marcelo D2 also sang.
When Jorge Benjor Sang “País Tropical” (Tropical Country), Maracanã broke into dance and warmed the climate for the entrance of the delegations.
Each athlete that paraded planted a seed. The tree seedlings will be placed in the Athletic Park, in Barra da Tijuca.
The teams were lead in by a bicycle, another symbol of sustainability and inclusion, since five of the cyclists were transgender.
Peace doves were substituted by kites with children’s messages from Kip Keino’s NGO. Kip is a former Kenyan runner, who was honored with an award for social work.
Interim President Michel Temer tried, but was unable to escape from booing from the spectators present on Friday (the 5th) at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympics in Maracanã stadium.
Event organizers saved the President from being booed twice. Mention of his name at the start of the event was canceled, but he couldn’t escape from booing when he himself declared that the Games were open.
“After this wonderful spectacle, I declare the that the Rio Games are open, celebrating the 31st Olympics in the modern era”, he said.During the first few seconds as he began to speak, it appeared that he wasn’t going to be heckled. Without his name being announced, he improvised, adding an introduction to the classic opening of the Games.
The booing started during these words which lasted about eight seconds.
The aggressiveness of the crowd, however, was very different from that seen against suspended president Dilma Rousseff at the opening of the Confederations Cup in 2013 in Brasília.
In addition to being booed, she was sworn at by the public, and the same thing occurred at the opening of the World Cup in 2014 in São Paulo.
There were two isolated attempts to start a chant of “Out with Temer” at two different moments in the ceremony, without engaging the public.
The first significant booing in the ceremony occurred when the President of the Organizing Committee for the Games, Carlos Arthur Nuzman, praised the integration among the three levels of government (federal, state and municipal).
The Olympic Flame entered the Maracanã Stadium carried by Gustavo Kuerten, known as ‘Guga’. He participated in the Sydney Games in 2000.
He passed the flame to Hortência, a former basketball player. She, along with “Magic” Paula, received the silver medal in Atlanta in 1996.
Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima took the torch from the former player’s hands a lit the Olympic Caldron
The athlete’s performance was affected in Athens-2004 when he was run over by a protester as he was leading the marathon. He still managed to finish in third place.