The Olympics haven't exactly enjoyed an auspicious start. People have arrived in Rio to find the village unfinished, the crime rate astronomical, and the water unsafe to swim in. Of course, Rio isn’t alone in that regard. But the Opening Ceremony is a time to forget all that and focus on the positive. While it wasn’t as starry as the London opening festivities, the Brazilian ceremony at the Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro was unique in its scope and ambition. The goal was to show the history of Brazil, from indigenous people until modernity. And the ceremony didn’t disappoint. Dancers performed on a lighted stage, taking viewers from first human habitation to the arrival of the conquistadors to the shame of slavery, and then onto immigration from Asia and the Middle East. The dancers then leapt across a stage lit to look like there were buildings springing up, apparently with the help of a Cirque du Soleil choreographer. The ceremony also celebrated Alberto Santos Dumont, whom the Brazilians believe beat the Wright Brothers to be the first in flight. Then the real highlight. Gisele Bündchen, walking across the stage to “The Girl from Ipanema.” The catwalk was her last and also a record for the world’s longest. Just watch.
Yep. What followed was more song, a dance about conflict, and a lengthy segment about the negative effects of climate change. Things were well-put together, the Brazilian performers were energetic and ridiculously talented, but we all know who the real star of the show was. The ceremony concluded with a group dance. Once again, Gisele stole the show. That’s quality jump-dancing.