Following my previous post about the controversy leading up to the Olympics, I will now discuss the main talking points from The Rio 2016 Olympics Opening Ceremony.

The days leading up to the Olympics Opening Ceremony included conversations about whether Pele would be well enough to light the flame (he wasn’t), how the budget was many times less than London’s four years ago, and if Brazil could give us some hope that these games won’t be as disastrous as many have dreaded. But as the world watched on with baited breath… it turned out they did a pretty good job!

Sure there were protests before it began, and there was one shooting in the hours afterward, but all in all, Rio was given rousing reviews for Friday night’s four-hour spectacle.

There were those who couldn’t help but compare it to the ceremony in London, but in reality, they were never going to be able to attract the stars, big sets, and dramatic with a budget just one-fifth of London’s. Those who could appreciate that was left praising the organizers and committees for making the most of every dollar; labeling it as “pulsating” and “amazing.”

One moment to remember was the entrance of the Refugee Nation for the first time in any Olympic Games. There were great admiration and emotion attached to the group made up entirely of refugees, who are without the opportunity to compete for a specific country. Many believe this symbolized the fact that controversy aside, the Olympics never fails to bring everyone together. It acted as a symbol of hope for all refugees and will increase awareness of this global issue.

This along with USA’s traditional buoyant entrance was maybe the only highlights from the Parade of Nations. With over 200 nations participating, this took over 3 hours to complete. It left people bored and frustrated for the most part, although appreciating that there’s not a lot that can be done about it.

Surprisingly it was the lengthy section on climate change that caught people’s interest. The Olympic rings were formed with sprouting seed boxes and tree seeds were distributed to give a reminder that 2016 is set to become the warmest year on record. Of course, it was going to be a topic that would leave some questioning its inclusion in the show. Some want the focus on sport, whilst some appreciated the step back and re-evaluation on what needs to be done to protect the planet.

Brazil’s temporary president was booed throughout his short address, as were the Russian team as they entered for their parade around the stadium. But although these acted as reminders to Brazil’s troubled lead-up to the Olympics, the majority of the event was described as “vibrant,” “loud” and like a “party.”
There was a patriotic and heartfelt reception given to Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen, who danced and partied with the performers and crowd alike. Bundchen’s appearance was highly anticipated before the Olympics Opening Ceremony, which led to her consistently appearing on the Synthesio word cloud across the weekend.

It comes as no surprise that the USA were the most talked about nation during the Olympics Opening Ceremony. The US consistently come out on top or close to it, and they have a culture centered around national pride and success.

Despite USA’s dominance in conversation, overnight viewing figures were the lowest an opening ceremony has seen since 1992. Figures came in at 16.5, 28% lower than London in 2012. This figure only represents American viewership on home TV sets.

The Olympics are finally up and running on a positive note! Let’s hope it can continue and Rio can deliver a successful games event. My next post will discuss the sporting successes, disappointments, amazement and probably, tribulations.

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