From Inside the Games

Boos reverberated around the Maracanã as interim Brazilian President Michel Temer declared Rio 2016 open tonight after an Opening Ceremony seeking to showcase the power of the Olympic Games to unite the world in a time of conflict.

Temer, who took over as President following the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff in May, had clearly anticipated this reaction and asked not to be announced to the crowd at the beginning, as is customary for the Head of State.

Boos had also rung out when Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman had referred to support from “City, State and Federal” Governments in an opening speech that was otherwise received enthusiastically.

But there were moments tonight when, as hoped, the carnival and samba spirit of Brazil came to the fore.

Cheers reached fever-pitch levels when the Brazilian team were led out by modern pentathlete Yane Marques.

They were even louder when the Cauldron was eventually lit by Vanderlei De Lima, the marathon runner who was a surprise, but welcome, choice to light the Olympic Flame after the late withdrawal of football icon Pelé.

It came after a shorter-than-usual segment showcasing Brazilian culture in which environmental themes were highlighted, as well as a celebration of Rio’s metropolitan, and favela, culture.

The Ceremony, watched by an estimated global television audience of three billion people, also paid tribute to Brazil’s multi-cultural character by marking contributions made by Portuguese explorers, African slaves and Japanese immigrants.

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