The 2016 Rio Olympic Games are now officially underway with the highly anticipated opening ceremony from Maracanã Stadium. But NBC is bogarting the broadcast here in the U.S. and tape-delaying these proceedings until 8 p.m. in your respective time zone. Undaunted, the gang here at Gothamist has tapped an Internet stream of the BBC live broadcast in order to sneak preview and spoil what happens during tonight’s pageantries.
We know there have been mobs and riots, poop-filled waters and seriously slashed budgets threatening to mar the awesomeness of this year’s Olympics. But can this opening ceremony transcend those troubles and suspend the global audience’s disbelief?
Well, it looks like things are off to a great start!
Buuut seriously, inside the Maracanã Stadium they are truly putting on a show for the ages. About an hour in, this Gothamist correspondent is impressed.
Things begin with the Brazilian national anthem, which is nowhere near as rousing or Samba-inspired as one would have thought. We then get projections onto the stadium floor representing the ocean and the first microbes that inhabited the earth, and it is all surprisingly watchable in a Pink Floyd laser show kind of way.
Favelas begin to sprout up, acrobats take to the floor and things are getting very Jerome Robbins. This show is seriously amazing.
Only 30 minutes in and they already bust out Gisele Bundchen! Ms. Bundchen struts out to the strains of the Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz hit “The Girl From Ipanema.” Gisele does not sing, she does not dance, she simply catwalks. Can Gisele Bundchen do anything else? If so, please let us know in the comments.
[Update: 9 p.m EDT/6 p.m. PDT] We are now into what Brian Williams would call “the shank of the evening,” except that in Olympic opening ceremonies “the shank” comes in the middle. That shank, of course, is the Parade of Nations, a long and boring roll call with a mixed bag of fashion sense. This is just as well, considering my pirated BBC stream died and now I’m watching this in Russian.
First, can we talk about these bicycles? These day-glo, Sid and Marty Krofft contraptions lead every country out of the tunnel.
As is the custom, Greece gets to go first. Things quickly devolve into boredom and the peanut gallery starts getting cute.
"Who carried the torch in LA?" "I think OJ did it" "oh he did it all right" #Rio2016— Danl (@dj_danl) August 6, 2016
We have our first famous athlete sighting, as Rafa Nadal carries the flag for Spain.
Now it’s time for the U.S.! Probably stoned Michael Phelps does get to carry the flag as the U.S. athletes enter in outfits that you would totally expect from their designer Ralph Lauren. The US athletes are madly snapping selfies, and even Secretary of State John Kerry (in the stands) whips out his smartphone for pictures.
From a fashion standpoint, Team Canada is winning hands down. (Or up!)
[Update 10 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. PDT] We’re three hours into this ceremony and the Parade of Nations continues to crawl along. Indonesia wins on outfits, so far.
But we do have an honorable mention:
Bermuda is wearing Bermuda shorts. I'm so happy #Rio2016— Maggie Foster (@ohsweetyno) August 6, 2016
This seems as good a time as any (I’m incredibly bored) to note that Dustin Lance Black’s Olympic diver boyfriend Tom Daley feels his swim trunks are too revealing and has had them redesigned. It’s a story we’ll definitely be following in the weeks to come!
Stella McCartney para adidas:— Cincuentamas.com (@cincuentamas) April 28, 2016
Tom Daley 💦 Olympic Team GB pic.twitter.com/Y8qYFP0jW9
Everyone around the world is impressed by the Refugee Olympic Team, who receive a standing ovation.
Brazil finally comes out and the crowd goes nuts! (So do I, this frickin' Parade of Nations is finally over.) Their hats and shorts are fantastic and each athlete seems so comfortable in their own skin.
Cool special effect alert! These “rainforest trees” make a lovely formation and then spew green confetti.
This happens, which is also outstanding!
Several corrupt bureaucrats now come out and speak way too long about welcoming the world to Rio for the Olympics. They seem to have no idea that they are following a spectacular set of fireworks, and they are are boring the daylights out of an entire planet. They might as well be talking in “Charlie Brown teacher” voice.
We get another outstanding set of fireworks, another outlandishly boring speech and flag ceremony, and a fantastic little kid breakdancing. But seriously, aren’t they supposed to eventually light some manner of torch here?
Finally this thing takes on the Carnaval-Mardi Gras vibe it should have had hours ago. And the little kid is still dancing!
And at 10:49 p.m. EDT/ 7:49 PDT, nearly four hours after it started, the Olympic opening ceremony finally lights the torch! It is embellished by a magnificent steampunk contraption.
So many fireworks go off that the stadium looks like a nuclear mushroom cloud, and Jesus gets turned green and yellow. And Jesus, this thing is finally over! Thanks for reading, and enjoy our Olympics coverage here on Gothamist.