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August 6, 2016

First in a series of intermittent observations, thoughts, analysis, poor attempts at humor,  and random oddities regarding the Summer Games of the 31st Olympiad, in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. 

From the comfort of my recliner, I thought the Opening Ceremony of the 31st Olympiad was great, actually. Told the good, bad and ugly history of Brazil in an evocative and colorful manner. From Samba to Bossa Nova, Funk to Tropicalia, Capoeira to Hip-Hop, traditional to post-modern, and echoes of Carnival, it was nothing less than I would have expected from a Carioca opening ceremony.

I appreciated the commentary from the creative directors, including “City of God” and “Constant Gardener” director Fernando Meirelles. Thoroughly enjoyed most of the music, the costuming, and all of the projected visuals. Speaking of a vision, Gisele Bundchen (aka Mrs. Tom Brady) makes me want to hop on the next plane and visit Ipanema. Fantastic final cat walk strut, & quite the dancer too.

Double love the idea of an Athlete’s Forest. Unlike some to be sure, I appreciated the environmental message they gave to the World – Startling to see that by my rough calculations, the Global average temperature has risen 1.1°F since I was born in 1971, and I better get to Amsterdam, Miami, Shanghai and Rio before they’re underwater – and as alarming as it was, hearing it from Judi Dench made it slightly less dire. I would hope their own Government could lead the way with proper shepherding of their rainforest and their rivers and oceans. I’m all for more trees.

I’m not buying that some Brazilian dude named Alberto invented flight 3 years after the Wright Brothers. The green hand in a “peace sign” and rooster head were a bit discordant, I must have missed the significance (beyond the obvious). Yet minor personal ignorances aside, the first phase of the Ceremony was an entertaining spectacle.

Some random thoughts on the Parade of Nations, which I thought went on a bit long: Still unsure about those wacky trikes to lead each contingent (even if they were carrying the seeds for the Athletes’ Forest); Loved Bermuda’s Bermudas, the Crying Bolivian, Bhutan’s flag, Cook Islands’ shirts, Hungary’s dresses, all the hats (too many to single out, but I had a soft spot for any with a gaucho style); I had no idea that Cape Verde & Comoros were autonomous & IOC-recognized competing nations; More Federica Pelligrini please; And what the heck does the Sultan of Brunei do with 5,000 cars?!? Then again I wouldn’t know how to speed any of that procession up. Interesting that they ordered the 202 competing nations using the Portuguese alphabet as opposed to the traditional IOC French of the past.

Got a little dusty in my living room when the Refugee Olympic Athletes marched into the stadium, joyous and resplendent in some of the snazziest uniforms of the parade.

NBC’s rolling commentary wasn’t always germane or even sensual. Hoda Kotb needed to roll her tongue back into her mouth a couple times (Dahomey … Dahomey …), especially when the Tongan contingent came in and the shirtless, muscular flag bearer was all oiled up and “shiny”. Apparently he has become a sensation.

But what a venue for such a party, the venerable Maracana, which shone throughout the Ceremony. Could there have been a little more Samba, or a more enthralling torch lighting (Sad that Pele was not well enough) with that trippy chandelier-like sculpture behind the cauldron? Sure. Yet, as they did in 2014 for the World Cup, Brazil once again demonstrated that despite all the critics and naysayers who wanted these games canceled or moved, and all of their governmental and administrative issues in preparing for these Games – many far larger in scope then a two week Olympiad – they can always pull it together for a party.

P.S. – My prediction for the Final Top 5 Medal Order:

1. USA
2. China
3. Germany
4. Brazil
5. Australia


From → Random, Sports

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