Opening ceremony kicks off Rio Olympics

The Rio Olympics officially began with a dazzling opening ceremony at Maracana Stadium on Friday night, where all eyes were on the thousands of athletes in the parade of nations.

Rosie MacLennan leads Canada into opening ceremony

(Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty)

The Games officially began with the opening ceremony.

While some competitions started on Wednesday, the Games officially got under way with the lighting of the cauldron and the recitation of the Olympic oath.

That's former Brazilian marathon runner Vanderlei de Lima doing the honours. (He replaced soccer legend Pele who withdrew due to illness.)

(Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty)

Fireworks lit up the Maracana Stadium Friday night.

From the first refrains of samba music to the lighting of the Olympic cauldron, the show ran for some four hours and was bookended by fireworks.

(Andrej Isakovic/AFP/Getty)
(Richard Heathcote/Getty) (Richard Heathcote/Getty)

Greece opened the parade of nations.

As is Olympic custom, Greece was the first country into the stadium. From there, nations entered in alphabetical order following the Portuguese alphabet.

Canada's athletes, led by trampolinist Rosie MacLennan, entered 38th. The United States (Estados Unidos da America in Portuguese) came in with the E countries.

(Clive Brunskill/Getty)
(Julian Finney/Getty)

The entrance of the Russian team, diminished in numbers after nearly one-third of its potential Olympians were banned following doping scandals, was subdued.

(Stefan Wermuth/Reuters)

British tennis star Andy Murray led his teammates while carrying the Union Jack in one hand (perhaps to prove that he could, in fact, do it without endangering anyone's eye.) Rafael Nadal carried the flag for Spain. Croatia's Novak Djokovic is at the Olympics, too. (Canada's Milos Raonic, however, opted not to come to Rio.)

(Cameron Spencer/Getty) (Cameron Spencer/Getty)

Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce had some pretty impressive hair.

And Tonga's shirtless flag-bearer stole the show.

A glistening Pita Nikolas Aufatofua, who winked directly to camera, made a name for himself on the world stage with this look. He will compete in taekwondo. 

(Paul Gilham/Getty)

The ceremony kicked off with an impressive visual spectacle. 

Supermodel Gisele Bundchen, backdropped by a portrait of Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, entered the stadium to the sounds of The Girl from Ipanema. (She was born in Tres de Maio, in southern Brazil.)

(Jamie Squire/Getty)

Green is a theme at this year's Games.

Each contingent was led in by a volunteer carrying a tree sapling and athletes planted seeds to mark the Olympic organizer's commitment to reforestation.

There was also a lot of green in general.

(Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty)
(Francois-Xavier Marit/AFP/Getty)

Performers re-enacted the history of Brazil.

The opening ceremony began with a carnivalesque performance representing the origin of the country's precolonial peoples through to modern times, followed by more fireworks.

(Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty)
(Richard Heathcote/Getty) (Richard Heathcote/Getty)


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