David Eng leads Canada into Rio Paralympics opening ceremony
Impressive visual display kicks off 2016 Games
With a flourish of red and white, flag-bearer David Eng led Canadian athletes into the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
"This is a moment I will cherish forever," Eng told The Canadian Press. "I'm feeling so blessed. It was an even greater feeling to have my wheelchair basketball teammates enter the stadium right behind me and to share this precious moment with them. I love them so much."
Wow what a experience 2 be flag bearer 4 Canada @ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OpeningCeremony?src=hash">#OpeningCeremony</a> This was amazing So grateful Thank you <a href="https://twitter.com/WCBballCanada">@WCBballCanada</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/CDNParalympics">@CDNParalympics</a>—@The_Real_DENG
Like their Olympic counterparts that marched into Maracana a month ago, the Canadians were dressed smartly in red blazers, the backs emblazoned with giant Maple Leafs. The team received loud applause from the Brazilian fans.
- WATCH ON DEMAND: Rio Paralympics opening ceremony
- Rio organizers put their heart into opening ceremony
Here is our running description of tonight's opening ceremony:
9:00 p.m. ET: And with that, the 2016 Rio Paralympics are officially underway. Thank you for following along!
8:40 p.m. ET: Brazil's Antonio Delfino carries the Paralympic torch into the Maracana. He then passes it off to Marcia Malsar, who slips on the rain-slicked floor but is able to get back up and continue. Adria Rocha then takes over, ultimately handing it to Clodoaldo Silva to light the cauldron.
Marcia Malsar drops the torch, but gets right back up again. That's the Paralympic spirit. <a href="https://t.co/Pf2JgmndWG">https://t.co/Pf2JgmndWG</a>—@CBCOlympics
8:25 p.m. ET: The International Paralympic Committee flag is being brought in by a group of young athletes and their family members. The flag-bearers, many of whom were featured in a video on the support networks for athletes with disabilities, receive a standing ovation.
Amazing <a href="https://twitter.com/ipc">@ipc</a> flag carriers <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/inspirational?src=hash">#inspirational</a>—@sikh4lfe
8:05 p.m. ET: Sir Philip Craven's speech highlights the two refugee competitors competing at the Games. This leads to the loudest ovation of the night so far.
"At a Games full of inspiring stories, yours may be the most inspiring of all," says Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee. The team consists of Ibrahim Al Hussein, a Syrian-born swimmer, and Iranian discus thrower Shahrad Nasajpour.
7:50 p.m. ET: The last piece of the puzzle is added to form a heart, tying into the "Every Body Has A Heart" theme of the ceremony. This message is echoed in the speech of Rio organizing committee chief Carlos Arthur Nuzman.
7:40 p.m. ET: The Brazilian contingent enters to a roar of applause from the home crowd and a blast of samba inside the iconic stadium.
The crowd chanted "Brazil,<br>Brazil" as the host nation came out. Maracana stadium literally shook 🇧🇷 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OpeningCeremony?src=hash">#OpeningCeremony</a> <a href="https://t.co/NzED6nMWCP">pic.twitter.com/NzED6nMWCP</a>—@jackydoorey
7:15 p.m. ET: The party is still going in Rio, but the real competition begins tomorrow. Canadian flag-bearer David Eng speaks about making that shift.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CAN?src=hash">#CAN</a> flag bearer David Eng talks about going beast mode at the Paralympics <a href="https://t.co/TNs8XSpV9k">https://t.co/TNs8XSpV9k</a> <a href="https://t.co/CVO1P6P2Es">https://t.co/CVO1P6P2Es</a>—@CBCOlympics
6:45 p.m. ET: Enjoying the opening ceremony? CBC went behind the scenes earlier to get an inside look at the production.
6:30 p.m. ET: As each country enters, puzzle pieces featuring that contingent's athletes are placed in the centre of the stadium.
The pieces of the mosaic puzzle slowly coming together. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Paralympics?src=hash">#Paralympics</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Rio2016?src=hash">#Rio2016</a> <a href="https://t.co/jBSbC7dz5k">pic.twitter.com/jBSbC7dz5k</a>—@WSFederation
6 p.m. ET: Two-time gold-medallist Eng leads the Canadian contingent into the opening ceremony. Eng, a wheelchair basketball veteran, is competing in his fourth Paralympics.
5:45 p.m. ET: The parade of nations is underway, with countries entering the stadium in alphabetical order in Portuguese. For example, Germany (Alemanha in Portuguese) is one of the first countries announced.
5:35 p.m. ET: As Brazil's flag is raised, acclaimed pianist and conductor Joao Carlos Martins performs his country's national anthem on a grand piano to the delight of the crowd.
5:20 p.m. ET: Craven starts the countdown, but it is Aaron (Wheelz) Fotheringham who truly ignites the crowd with an incredible acrobatic display to open the ceremony at the Maracana Stadium.
How flipping cool was that? Watch the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OpeningCeremony?src=hash">#OpeningCeremony</a> live now and at 6:30PM on CBC <a href="https://t.co/iZnRtQzKDP">https://t.co/iZnRtQzKDP</a> <a href="https://t.co/mEO75uLLaM">https://t.co/mEO75uLLaM</a>—@CBCOlympics
Canada has 162 athletes in Brazil and is aiming for a Top 16 finish in the medal standings. There are 160 countries competing at the Games.
Competition begins on Thursday and runs through Sept. 18.
With files from The Canadian Press