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Goon Bags and Glamour – Recapping Rio’s Opening Ceremony

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Missed the Rio Opening Ceremony? Don’t worry – Chattr has got you covered.

It’s here – the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics was officially opened in a celebration of colour and dance on Friday night. Despite the director of the Rio opening ceremony admitting their rehearsals had been disasters, the city put on a spectacular party to welcome the more than 11,000 athletes. In case you missed all the glitz and glamour, here’s a recap of the best moments of the Rio 2016 Olympic Opening Ceremony.

Goon Bags. Goon Bags Everywhere.

‘Twas a thing of beauty.

To most of the world the opening ceremony began with a bunch of shiny silver dancers and their huge but equally shiny silver inflatable pillows. To Australia however, the games began with a bunch of people dancing around goon bags. Was this a nod to the Australian team, who had previously made complaints about the standard of their Rio living arrangements, or was it just coincidence? Regardless it brought a tear to the eye of many Aussie sports fans.

A Model Ceremony

Impossibly good looking lady and supermodel Gisele Bundchen strutted across the opening ceremony stage backed by the classic Brazilian song The Girl from IpanemaAs one of the world’s most successful models, Gisele retired last year, her opening ceremony appearance marking her last ever catwalk.

Rumour is they used one of those leftover giant goon bags to make Gisele’s dress…

You might not recognise Gisele’s backing music by name but it’s almost certain you’ve heard this suave, jazzy song played in old movies, or productions trying to generate a bit of ‘old world’ nostalgia. Nine out of ten people agree it’s a song guaranteed to make you swoon.

A Nod to the Past

Paying homage to Brazil’s diverse population and colonial past, the opening ceremony featured indigenous Brazilians re-enacting scenes from the country’s history. Like Australia, Brazil has a sometimes less than glorious history of interactions between the indigenous and colonising populations (that’s the Portuguese).

Dancers re-creating the slavery from Brazil’s past

Nevertheless, it was refreshing that the ceremony organisers chose not to shy from the painful parts of their history, and to interweave it into their show.

Applause for the Refugees

If you’re like me, the main reason I watch the opening ceremony of any Olympics is to see all the athletes walk into the stadium. But as much as I love watching the Australian team enter, at the Rio opening ceremony I was most excited for the first ever Refugee Olympic team.

I dare you not to tear up a little

Made up of ten athletes or originating in nations such as Syria, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the athletes were greeted by hearty applause with many in the audience standing to welcome the team. They even got a personal mention by US President Barack Obama.

Trees for Peace

The opening ceremony was based around the themes of diversity, joy and gardens, with the hope of promoting messages of environmental conservation and peace.

Given Brazil is home to a large part of the Amazon Rainforest, it’s unsurprising it featured heavily in the Rio opening ceremony.

These messages were no more clearer than when each of the competing athletes were given a tree seed from one of 207 tree species native to Brazil (that’s one species of tree for every nation competing). These seeds will be planted and one day form the ‘Athletes Forest’ – a lasting environmental legacy for the host nation which has been ravaged by deforestation.