Athletes, competition, gold medals … yawn. We joke of course, but there is some truth to the fact that one of the most exciting parts of any Olympic Games gathering comes on a night when no one breaks a sweat except the people running it: The opening ceremony.
On Friday (August 5), that held true one again. Athletes from all over the world gathered at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, representing their homelands alongside the flashing lights, roaring applause and over-the-top happenings we’ve all come to expect.
Read on for 5 of the best moments from an opening ceremony that is hopefully indicative of an entertaining Olympics to come.
Any discussion of an Olympics opening ceremony needs to begin with the obvious: Its pageantry. Rio did not disappoint, with plenty of lights, fireworks, and more spectacle than a glitter factory explosion. It remains to be seen where these particular games will be ranked history-wise, but we certainly won’t be forgetting its opening festivities anytime soon.
Gisele is the Girl From Ipanema
Fifty years ago, Antonio Jobim penned a classic ode to the rhythm of a woman’s walk. So, what better woman to personify the song in 2016 than Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen? She certainly knows how to walk a runway, and one of the most-talked-about moments on social media occurred when Tom Brady’s wife glided towards an image of Jobim while wearing a floor-length gown designed by Alexandre Herchcovitch — then left the stage to a trail of lights that became sketches from famed architect Oscar Niemeyer. She was most definitely tall and tan and young … and lovely.
Designed by Ralph Lauren (as per usual), the US team was outfitted in snappy white pants, blue suitcoats and red-white-and-blue jerseys. The jackets even contained a special button under the breast pocket that, when switched on, made the logo and the letters “USA” on the back illuminate in the dark. Other favorite outfits included Bermuda (in their traditional shorts), Australia (carrying a flag with a boxing kangaroo) and Spain in their distinctive white hats.
One of the more unique features of this year’s opening ceremony was the colorful tricycles that led the delegations around. Each one was hand-made by Rio Carnival artist Rossy Amoedo, taking him more than two months.
In a word: Legend. The swimmer and multi-medalist was given the honor of carrying the flag for Team USA — resulting in an emotional moment that undoubtedly left many viewers swimming in tears.