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Olympic Opening Ceremonies 2016: Critical Info for Rio Games Spectacle

Published by Bleacher Report on Thu, 04 Aug 2016

The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games is the epitome of pageantry in sports. The spectacle in Rio this year should be no different.On Friday, August 5, the Brazilian city will take its turn to host the traditional opening ritual, and it promises to be an exciting affair as the Games officially begin with some of the world's best athletes all convened in one location.With a star-studded lineup of athletes playing the role of flag-bearer for their countries during the traditional entrance of each nation, this is an event that Olympic fans won't want to miss.Here's a look at all the information you need to catch the event.Date:Friday, August 5Start Time:7:30 p.m. ETWhere:Maracana Stadium,Rio de Janeiro,BrazilTV: NBC Notable Flag-BearersOne of the highest honors for Olympic athletes is to be chosen as a flag-bearer for the country they represent. The 2016 opening ceremony will feature plenty of notable names carrying flags on opening night.Leading the United States into the stadium will be swimmer Michael Phelps. Although Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, this will be the first time he has been named a flag-bearer.A U.S. swimmer getting the honor is a rare feat. According to Paul Carr of ESPN Stats & Info, Phelps will be the first to carry the flag since 1976:It's a fitting honor for Phelps. He retired after the 2012 Games as they appeared to be his last, but he came out of retirement just two years later. Now, the 31-year-old will take one last victory lap at these Olympics.Being nominated to carry the flag was an emotional moment for the swimmer, per Rachel Axon of USA Today:For me to be able to have the opportunity to carry the flag for the United States in the Opening Ceremonies: dream come true. To lead our country into this Olympics is something that I honestly never thought Id have an opportunity to do. When one of our staff members told me last night that I was selected, I think I had the biggest smile on my face you could possibly find. A little bit of emotion came over me. I probably shed a little bit of tears, just in joy, just the honor and the opportunity to do that is incredible. A tremendous, tremendous honor. My first opening ceremonies as well. Im looking forward to it.The ceremony will also have a bit of tennis representation on opening night. Great Britain chose men's tennis star Andy Murray to carry the flag for the nation. Murray shared his thoughts on the honor, via the team's Twitter account:Spain also went the route of tennis star for their representation, with Rafael Nadal carrying the flag. This will be the 30-year-old's second Olympics. He won the gold medal in Beijing in 2008 but was forced to withdraw from the 2012 Games due to tendinitis.Murray will be looking to make it back-to-back gold medals following his success at the 2012 Games in London. What to ExpectThe opening ceremony might have a different tone than in previous years, according to event officials.Marco Balichthe executive producer of the eventhas emphasized that the ceremony won't be as flashy as previous years, as an economic recession in the nation has limited some of Brazil's spending power."This is not an opulent event given the situation in Brazil," Balich said, per Karolos Grohmann of Reuters."It does not have the grandiosity of Beijing, the huge special effects of Athens, the eccentricity and technological skills of London. It is an analogue opening ceremony."Given Brazil's massive rainforest areas, the show will have a sustainability theme, according to Balich.That means a slight adjustment to the Olympic cauldron. According to Balich, the traditional large cauldron and flame will be replaced by a low-emission version that goes in accordance with the ceremony's theme.For Balich, it might not be as grandiose as previous iterations, but the opening spectacle will make a statement."The ceremony has a purpose," Balich said. "Talking in a positive way in terms of sustainability. Doing a dry celebration is not enough. The fact that we are taking position might not make everyone happy, but that's what it is."Even without the special effects and hoopla, 11,000 athletes will converge on the field as part of the proceedings. That in itself will provide a special moment ahead of these Olympics.
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