The Rio Games launched with a flamboyant spectacle headlined by supermodel Gisele Bundchen as a doom-laden Olympic build-up gave way to an energetic party atmosphere at the fabled Maracana stadium on Friday.
Despite the resentful undercurrent, and protests against the Games just hours earlier, spirits were high among the thousands of athletes, performers, fans and officials at the 78,000-capacity Maracana.
“The Olympic dream is now a wonderful reality. The best place in the world is here and now,” said organising committee chief Carlos Nuzman, to rapturous applause.
Here’s how the opening ceremony panned out:
8:26 (IST): Vanderlei Cordeiro, former Brazilian long-distance runner lit the flame, and the games are officially underway. Catch all the updates on our Rio 2016 page.
8:21 (IST): The Olympic flame is lit! Let the games begin!
8:18 (IST): Gustavo Kuerten, Brazil’s tennis great, is making his way with the Olympic torch.
8: 15 (IST): Brazil’s interim president Michel Temer declared open the first Games ever in South America.
8:12 (IST): Seems like an apt time to listen to the 2014 Brazil World Cup song again.
8:03 (IST): The Olympic flag is being hoisted. It has been a gorgeous ceremony. Just look at these.
7:44 (IST): Brazil making sure they send out a clear message on the preservation of the environment.
7:35 (IST): In case you get bored of all the speeches. Read: Ahead of Rio 2016’s curtain raiser, ranking the best ever opening ceremonies
7:31 (IST): While spectators enjoy the opening act inside the Maracana, these guys make sure they stay safe.
7:23 (IST): The opening ceremony is almost done. Hosts Brazil are the last ones out.
7:12 (IST): A whole lot of blue here.
All this blue reminds us of this.
7:05 (IST): Sri Lanka is out! A shame cricket isn’t part of the Olympics, they would be gold contenders.
7:02 (IST): More visuals from our Indian contingent. Looking smart in their traditional attire.
6:54 (IST): North Korea is here.
6:46 (IST): Jamaica is here! Can you spot Usain Bolt?
6:44 (IST): Our neighbours Nepal are out!
6:42 (IST): A really pretty ceremony, this one.
6:41 (IST): Mexico is out! Got the tequila ready?
6:32 (IST):The tricolour flies high!
6:29 (IST): Rafael Nadal was all smiles during the opening ceremony.
6:25 (IST): While others get on board the selfie train and post pictures on Instagram and Twitter, Abhinav is focusing solely on Rio.
I am off social media for a couple of weeks folks. See you all on the other side. !!— Abhinav (@Abhinav_) July 20, 2016
6:21 (IST): Team India is here! Shooter Abhinav leads out the Indian contingent.
Around 70 Indian athletes (out of 118) and 24 officials took part in the march past.
Tennis ace Leander Paes was seen waving at the crowd but the spotlight was on female shuttlers Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponappa and gymnast Dipa Karmakar.
6:13 (IST): Flag bearer Andy Murray leads out the Great Britain contingent.
6:05 (IST): Swimmer Michel Phelps is the flag bearer for the United States of America.
6:02 (IST): Rafael Nadal leads the Spain contingent in RIo 2016. He was given a second chance after he missed the 2012 London Games due to injury.
5:44 (IST): The Saudi women athletes at the Rio 2016 opening ceremony.
5:39 (IST): The Indian team is ready.
5:32 (IST): The Kuwaiti athletes are walking under the IOC flag as the Kuwait Olympic Committee was suspended because of political interference.
5:29 (IST): The order of entry is alphabetical, but in Portuguese.
5:24 (IST): As always, the Greek contingent is the first one to enter the arena.
5:17 (IST): It’s a samba party at the Maracana!
5:11 (IST): The grand spectacle.
5:09 (IST): 12-year old MC Soffia is also part of the Rio 2016 opening ceremony.
5:06 (IST): The parkour influence!
5:01 (IST): ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ plays as Gisele Bundchen makes her entrance.
4:57 (IST): The brilliant laser show at the opening ceremony.
4:52 (IST): U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and IOC President Thomas Bach are attending the opening ceremony.
4:49 (IST): The spectacular fireworks show..
4:47 (IST): And now we have the representation of Brazil’s rainforests, and the indigenous people.
4:40 IST): The Maracana Stadium looks like a dream.
4:34 (IST): The ceremony is underway!
4:30 (IST): The crowd is ready for the opening ceremony!
4:27 (IST): Team India.
4:23 (IST): The Maracana Stadium is slowly getting packed ahead of the extravaganza.
4:20 (IST): An inside view of the Canada team bus.
Getting patriotic on the bus 🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/LzUAvj2zsl— Genie Bouchard (@geniebouchard) August 5, 2016
4:18 (IST): It’s almost time.
4:15 (IST): Sadly, Indian tennis star Sania Mirza will not be attending the Olympic opening ceremony.
4:14 (IST): The Indian shuttle queens also seem ready.
4:12 (IST): Garbine Muguruza tweeted a picture of her Spanish teammates.
Nos ponemos en marcha para la ceremonia... Muchas emociones.... Ready for the Ceremony!! Soooo excited! pic.twitter.com/nLW8FKX0MY— Garbiñe Muguruza (@GarbiMuguruza) August 5, 2016
4:08 (IST): Meanwhile, the Russians are quite miffed.
3:58 (IST): Team USA are ready for the RIo 2016 opening ceremony.
3:56 (IST): Manchester City’s German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan wished his country’s athletes on social media.
3:54 (IST): Brazil tennis great Gustavo Kuerten will light the Olympic cauldron at opening ceremony.