Rio 2016 and the positive values of sport
While a more austere affair than in recent years, I found the opening ceremony of Rio 2016 thoroughly enjoyable. I saw Brazil (even in the crowd's booing of the powers that be) and I saw sport presented as a platform on which positive values can flourish. The ceremony featured a rallying cry to protect a planet we're destroying, with details such as green plants in the shape of the five Olympic rings and the raising of the flame to the sun. It also championed a spirit of solidarity with those in need, with a refugees' team rightfully given a prime slot in the running order and Keino Kipchoge collecting an award recognising his work in aid of children.
Bomb scare didn't detract from action
And as AS's Juan Mora wrote yesterday - calling on a bullfighting saying we have in Spanish - when the bull comes out, everyone sits down. At the time of writing, everything is going off normally, with the exception of one absent-minded person at the cycling who left a bag near the finish. A bomb squad destroyed it just in case, though there was nothing there; save for the sense of fear that's inexorably taking hold of us because a barbaric few are intent on robbing us of any measure of joie de vivre. But that brief scare did not detract one iota from the beauty and excitement of the cycle race, which saw an Olympic diploma for the retiring Joaquim 'Purito' Rodríguez, who gave absolutely everything.
Brazil showcased at ceremony
I very much liked the ceremony, despite the fact that it was held at the Maracana - rather than at the Olympic Stadium - with the result that the procession lacked the natural, symbolic element of the athletics track. But Brazil showcased itself as a country, from the 'Girl from Ipanema' embodied by Gisele Bundchen, to Vanderlei de Lima, the marathon-runner stopped by a reckless spectator when in the lead in Athens and forced to settle for bronze. The chief honour of lighting the flame went to him instead of Pelé, who missed the event due to poor health. The Maracana and Pelé together might have been a slight football overload; I'd maybe say I was happier it was De Lima.
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