Despite all doubts, misgivings and disbelief that Rio could actually pull off this year’s edition of Summer Olympics, this Saturday eyes around the world were focused on the Opening Ceremony that would kick off days of intense competition from athletes around the world.
While there were budget cuts and the ceremony was not on a scale as grand as the Danny Boyle spectacle of London four years ago, the opening night still managed to make its mark. Most notable among the festivity was the golden child of the country, Gisele sashay down the longest catwalk in a golden gown designed by Brazilian designer Alexandre Herchcovitch. The sequined dress took more than four months to create. The sequins were embroidered vertically so it appeared that the world’s highest earning supermodel was dressed in liquid gold as she walked the length of the Maracanã stadium to The Girl From Ipanema.
Here are some of the highlights and fun facts about the Rio Olympics 2016:
The mascot for the games, Vinicius is a yellow cat-monkey (not Pikachu), is a treehouse dwelling creature who loves social media. His abilities include stretching, sniffing, running, jumping and imitating other animals. And no, it has nothing at all to do with Pokemon. The mascot is in fact named after the Rio born poet and composer Vinicuis de Moraes who died in 1980. The mascot is a ‘mixture’ of all native Brazilian animals. Unlike his predecessors Wenlock and Mandeville, the one eyed mascots for London 2016, Vinicius’ reveal did not generate as much of a buzz, most likely because everyone was more focused on whether the games could go ahead to begin with!
The opening ceremony budget at Rio is ten times less than the total spent at London 2012.
The most expensive ticket for the opening ceremony cost an equivalent of 1,400 USD, while the least expensive one, only sold in Brazil was 60 USD.
Nearly 11,000 athletes from around the world are competing in 42 sport categories for 2,488 Olympic medals. These include 812 gold, 812 silver and 864 bronzes.
206 countries have sent their delegations at the games.
The refugee team, comprising 10, six male and four female athletes will compete under the Olympic flag.
7.5 million tickets to the games are available for purchase.
Golf will be making a comeback to the games after more than a century; it was last played in the competition in 1904 when the games, officially known as the Games of the III Olympiad were held in St. Louis, Missouri, US.
The Olympic village has more than 3,600 apartments to house the athletes and 6,000 coaches.
Team Canada comprises 314 athletes competing for medals in 27 sports. The contingent also includes 98 coaches and 107 support staff.
Rosie MacLennan, the only gold medalist from London 2012 was the flag bearer at the opening ceremony.
The designer duo behind Dsquared2, Dan and Dean Caten designed the Olympic uniform for Team Canada. With a distinctive maple leaf motif, the sharp cuts of these uniforms merge athletic functionality with impeccable fashion sense, making the Canadian team one of the best dressed in the games.
For those who want a bit of the Olympic spirit in their closets, replicas of the uniform can be bought at The Hudson's Bay.