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Rio 2016 Olympic opening ceremony: What to expect

Rio 2016 Olympic opening ceremony: What to expect

Posted by PanamericanWorld on August 04, 2016

Competition might already be underway, but we're still awaiting the official start of the Summer Games – the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Officials have been tight-lipped with regards to individual performances, but there's enough leaked information from rehearsals to get a general idea of what Friday's festivities will entail.

Here's what we know so far:

Substance over spending

Don't expect anything too pricey with regards to Friday's spectacle.

The budget for the required four ceremonies (opening and closing for the Olympics and Paralympics) has been slashed from its original $113.9 million US price tag to a more modest $55.9 million.

For context, creative director Fernando Meirelles says that there is an estimated 12 times less money spent on these Games than in London and 20 times less than Beijing.

He seems to have come around on the idea of a smaller, more intimate performance.

"In the end I feel good that I am not spending money that Brazil hasn't got. You can do something with heart, with concept, without spending," he told the U.K.'s Daily Mail.

Environmental message

The environment will have a large role in the overall theme, as would be expected of a nation home to the Amazon rainforest.

"The message is Brazil has the last garden in the world, which is the Amazon, and we need to protect that garden," executive producer Marco Balich said on Tuesday. "This is a message of hope for the future. This is not a message of 'oh the world is going to terminate because of global warming.'"

Sustainability will be one of the show's three so-called "pillars," along with smiling and "gambiarra," which is the Brazilian way of being resourceful using whatever materials are available.

'Sexiest' opening ceremony in history

Organizers are planning on showcasing Brazil's love of samba and its annual Carnival with costumes that celebrate the human figure… by covering up very little of the human figure.

"There will be lots of nearly naked women doing the samba," a source told The Daily Mail. "The costumes have been designed to show off as much flesh as possible which means as little material as they can get away with."

What better way to save on costs (and the environment)?

All eyes on Gisele

Supermodel Gisele Bundchen will be involved in some way, but the specifics are murky.

Early reports from witnesses of rehearsals indicated she would be mugged by a street boy with a police chase ensuing.

According to Meirelles, it was all a misunderstanding. In an email to The Washington Post, the creative director said the scene was to depict a food vendor asking for a selfie with Bundchen on a beach before being chased by security guards.

Nevertheless, it appears to have been scrapped.

"It was a gag that was not funny so we cut it," said Meirelles.

Pele to light the torch, if he can make it

Soccer legend Pele has been offered the honour of lighting the Olympic flame, though he will have to cancel a prior scheduled engagement in order to attend.

The only player to have won the World Cup three times confirmed he was asked by IOC president Thomas Bach to open the Games, though fro him to make it would involve abandoning a sponsored trip. 

The 75-year-old said he would have an answer by Thursday.

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