10:30 Aug. 6, 2016
Summer Games 2016 opening ceremony kicks off
With the sound of crashing waves and smooth bossa nova, the Summer Games kicked off Friday night, August 5, with an earthy, musical celebration of Brazilian culture, a rainbow-colored dance party that highlighted the glories and tragedies of South America's largest nation.
The four-hour Opening Ceremonies had a gutted budget but a soaring feel as the stadium in this seaside city pulsed with lights, fireworks, circus-like acrobatics and a samba singalong that embraced the nation's partying style.
The celebration didn't dwell on Brazil's recent upheaval — its worst recession in decades, and the suspension of its president, Dilma Rousseff, who faces an impeachment trial, probably during the Olympics. But the nation's troubles intruded anyway. When the acting president, Michel Temer, formally declared the continent's first-ever Olympic Games open, his words were quickly drowned out with boos.
The ceremony took the long view, back to the creation of Earth, from the first molecules and the forest primeval, to send a warning about climate change and the need to protect the natural wonders that Brazil once had in abundance. There were ominous moments from the darker side of Brazilian history, from slavery to the creation of mega-cities, and lectures about carbon levels, the Earth's temperature and protecting the environment. Full story