Everything You Need to Know About the 2016 Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony
THE CEREMONY CELEBRATED BRAZIL'S HISTORY
All of it. In its charting of the nation's rich cultural history, the ceremony began at the very beginning of time, with dancers in silver representing the amoebas who evolved to bring us life.
THE ARENA WENT BACK IN TIME
Planes, wheels, apartment buildings – thanks to a projection machine and some inventive props, the creative team took the audience on a journey through the ages. Here, dancers reenact the immigration and exploration that has resulted in the melting pot of Brazilian culture.
THERE WAS PARKOUR INVOLVED
Well, kind of. As part of the ceremony's tribute to the history of Brazil, we arrived at modern Brazil, and São Paolo, which is recognized by its distinctive apartment blocks. Dancers appeared to jump, flip and climb all over the set – but most of their insane tricks were just an optical illusion thanks to the projections on the arena's floor, and some inventive choreography.
GISELE WALKED THE RUNWAY
Sure, Gisele Bündchen recently retired from the runway, but when the Olympics called, she put on her heels once more. The supermodel couldn't contain her excitement as she strutted her stuff through Maracanã Stadium to the tune of "Girl From Ipanema."
THERE WAS A GIANT, STADIUM-WIDE DANCE PARTY
Fittingly, for a country famous for Carnival, the opening ceremonies ended with an elaborate dance party, featuring performances from Brazilian musical icons paying tribute to samba, passinho and rap. (And if you looked closely, you could even see Bündchen dance the night away with the rest of the audience.)
THE REFUGEE TEAM MADE THEIR OLYMPIC DEBUT – AND BROUGHT HOPE TO US ALL
During the Parade of Nations, the Independent Olympic team – which is made up of athletes who don't compete for any country – received a standing ovation as they arrived at Macaranã Stadium, as the audience honored the refugees that made up the team this year. Ten Olympians from South Sudan, Syria, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo made the inspirational journey to Rio to compete in the game, where they grinned and waved to the crowd as they celebrated their achievement.
MICHAEL PHELPS LED TEAM U.S.A. INTO THE OLYMPICS
It was Phelps' first time ever attending the Olympics opening ceremony, and it was definitely an unforgettable one. The most decorated Olympian of all time was chosen as the flag bearer for his fifth games, and it's hard to tell which was shining brighter: His big grin or the glowing letters on his Ralph Lauren-designed jacket.
THE TORCH WAS LIT
Obviously! Following speeches and before the big conclusion, Brazilian marathoner Vanderlei de Lima lit the flame, which will burn until the end of the Closing Ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 21.
THINGS ENDED WITH A DANCE PARTY
Bringing together colors and cool dance moves as only Brazil could.