Missed the Opening Ceremonies?
We’ll fill you in.
It wasn’t the most lavish, innovative, glitzy Opening Ceremonies we’ve ever seen (Beijing 2008). Or the most sophisticated and even funny (London 2012, remember James Bond and the Queen skydiving into Olympic Stadium?) — but what it lacked in budget, Rio 2016 made up with in heart and energy. And, Brazil threw possibly the world’s biggest dance party.
But before we could dance, we head to learn about the dangers of global warming. And the history of Brazil, including political strife, immigration struggles and slavery. Oh and hey, they claim they invented the airplane before the Wright Brothers. Whatevs, it was their night.
Next, it was time for Brazil’s most treasured “export”: No, not coffee. Gisele Bündchen! She catwalked what seemed to be the length of a football field (shout out to Mr. Bündchen) to the tune of “The Girl from Ipanema.”
If strutting your stuff was an Olympic Sport, Gisele gets the gold.
And then there was samba. Lots and lots of samba.
Next came the Parade of approximately 74,000 Nations. The nations were called alphabetically. In Portuguese. Afrique de Sud (South Africa) and Alemanha (Germany) really threw us off. But the upside is, we never really knew if we were near the end, so it forced us to keep watching.
The fan favorite was the Refugee team. (The 10 athletes — who hailed from Syria, South Sudan, Congo and Ethiopia — received a standing O.) The most attractive team: Spain (led by Rafa Nedal). Most shiniest: The flag bearer from Tonga. Most spirited: Brazil. Most Biggest Team Ever: USA (with 549 athletes). And the award for the most public display of Ghosting: Michael Phelps. (Read more about that here.)
The Olympic cauldron was lit — not by Pélé, because of illness … and all those stairs — but by Brazilian marathoner Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima. In the 2004 games, he was tackled by an Irish spectator wearing a kilt, knee-socks and a beret while he was in first place in the marathon. Instead of gold, he won the bronze.
Then there was an Olympic oath, that stated that none of the 11,288 Olympic athletes (including 6,182 men and 5,106 women) will take banned drugs. #Awkward for the Russian team, who was missing 118 of their players due to a state-sponsored cheating scandal.
What else did you miss? Well, we were hilarious on Twitter.
The latest Tweets from The Relish (@TheRelishSports). A new voice for female sports fans, delivered fresh to your inbox…twitter.com
And Matt Lauer was a real American hero last night. Such a trooper filling allllll of that airtime with commentary (alongside his partners in crime, Meredith Vieira and Hoda Kotb.)