The 31st Olympic Games will be launched in Rio on Friday with a “cool” opening ceremony, organisers have promised.
The Games are ready to emerge from the shadow of the Russian doping scandal, concerns over security, water quality at several venues, the Zika virus and a backdrop of economic recession and protest, with the “coolest party” set to start at midnight BST on Friday night.
There are 10,500 athletes from 207 nations in Rio ready to compete in 31 sports and the curtain raiser in the Maracana Stadium, despite budget cuts forced upon organisers, will still be an eye-catching spectacle.
“Athens was classical, Beijing was grandiose, London was smart – ours is going to be cool,” said creative director Fernando Meirelles, of an opening ceremony that will cost considerably less than the £27m spent on the Danny Boyle-directed one at London 2012 four years ago.
Executive producer Marco Balich said: “I would call on all the athletes to join what is going to be the coolest party they have participated in.”
The ceremony will feature 5,000 volunteers, 500 musicians and 200 professional dancers and be a celebration of Brazil watched by an estimated three billion people.
The show will be based on three pillars: the garden – the importance of looking after the planet – diversity and joy.
The athletes at the ceremony will all be given a tube of soil and a seedling, which will be planted in Brazil after the Games.
Andy Murray, defending champion in the Olympic tennis men’s singles, will be Great Britain’s flagbearer.
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