Brazil prepares for Olympic closing ceremony

  • 20/08/2016
A Brazilian dancer (Reuters)
A Brazilian dancer (Reuters)

Brazil's famed carnival will take centre stage at the Olympic Games closing ceremony, which will burst into life in front of more than 40,000 fans in Rio on Sunday.

But once again football legend Pele will be a no-show.

Organisers are remaining tight-lipped about full production details but have confirmed Pele has not be asked to take part.

The football icon had been asked to light the flame at the opening ceremony but declined because of poor health.

The involvement of Rosa Magalhaes as creative director is a clear indication that carnival celebrations will play a key role in Sunday's event at the famed Maracana Stadium.

Ms Magalhaes is the the country's most successful carnival designer, winning five championships since 1984.

She says the closing ceremony will be a joyous occasion tinged with "melancholy" when the Olympic flame is extinguished and has also revealed that one element will be 20 metres high.

The Maracana has proved problematic for organisers, especially after a planned upgrade fell through.

It left the creative directors without a raised stage in the centre of the arena for the opening ceremony and also limited what could be brought through the relatively small entrance.

The Olympic opening was ultimately a low-tech event compared to recent Games, relying heavily on music, dance and colour to entrance the audience.

More than 3000 volunteers will take part on Sunday along with 200 dancers and creative supervisor Abel Gomes says the ceremony will celebrate "all what's best in Brazil".

While creative director Leonardo Caetano says it will be "richer and more Brazilian" than the opening of the Games.

"It is a ceremony to make everybody feel happy, everybody who has worked at the Games, everybody who has taken part," he said.

"It will be our way of saying, it was worth it."

AAP