Rio Olympics kicks off in stunning fashion

  • 06/08/2016
(Reuters)
(Reuters)

The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games has burst into life in Rio de Janeiro, and the world's best athletes are ready to take centre stage as they march into the Maracana Stadium.

But first an enthusiastic, but less than capacity crowd, will be treated to three hours of music and dancing, Brazilian style.

The program has opened with a video highlighting how sport is an integral part of Rio's lifestyle.

Rio Olympics kicks off in stunning fashion

(Reuters)

Samba will also feature highly in a ceremony that will have a strong environmental focus.

Expect emotion and passion - but also expect a low-tech spectacular in keeping with the economic woes that plague Brazil, one more modest than those of previous Games.

Rio Olympics kicks off in stunning fashion

(Reuters)

Executive producer Mario Balich says his team may not have had the budget afforded to Beijing or London but has put together a show that captures the heart and soul of Brazil.

"Every Olympic ceremony is beautiful," he said.

"Every country expresses itself through that ceremony."

Rio Olympics kicks off in stunning fashion

(Reuters)

Full details have remained under wraps but the ceremony will feature 5000 volunteers including 500 musicians and 200 dancers.

It will be based around the three "pillars" of joy, diversity and ecology.

Rio Olympics kicks off in stunning fashion

(Reuters)

Legendary British actor Dame Judy Dench will read a special poem in a recorded segment, while Oscar-nominated Brazilian actor Fernanda Montenegro will read the same poem in Portuguese.

As the athletes enter the stadium they will each be presented with a tree seed in soil.

The seeds will be collected after the march and later planted in a Rio park to create an Olympic forest as their legacy to the city.

Other celebrities to take part in the show are models Gisele Bundchen and Lea T.

Rio Olympics kicks off in stunning fashion

Gisele Bundchen walks out for the Opening Ceremony (Reuters)

Superstar cyclist Anna Meares is carrying the flag for Australia but just who will light the Olympic flame remains a closely guarded secret.

Speculation had centred on soccer great Pele until he ruled himself out because of ill health.

AAP