With the scene beautifully set at the renowned Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro this morning, the opening ceremony signalled the official start of an intense excitement of 42 Olympic sport disciplines in one place.
The vivid ceremony celebrated not only Brazil’s multi-ethnic history, but global diversity as well. Samba music, with a bit of cat walk by supermodel Gisele set the scene before fireworks were shot from the Olympics rings.
Carlos Nuzman, president of the Rio 2016 Committee welcomed the world to the city. “I am talking to the whole planet. We welcome you to Rio, the Olympic city. We stand to deliver history. The Olympic dream is now a wonderful reality” said Nuzman in his address.
The South African team was led by the sprinter, Wayde van Niekerk, as the flag bearer for the first time. Our team stood out because they were wearing tracksuits whereas many other athletes turned out in formal wear. This received a mixed reaction back home, but Fox Sports gave the South African outfit top marks.
However, the mood is one of adrenaline-filled anticipation. South Africa has sent 137 athletes to carry the country’s flag in the Olympics for the 19th time in the history of the games. The country has 76 medals, of which 23 are gold, 26 silver and 27 bronze.
These records may not speak well for a country of South Africa’s standard in resources, yet in Wayde van Niekerk, Caster Simenya, Daryl Impey, SA Sevens, Banyana Banyana, Amaglug-glug, and many others, the country has all it takes to achieve the 10 medal target and upset the best-laid plans of countries who have dominated the Olympics over the years.
South African schedule of athletes who will be participating this weekend till Monday is as follows:
|Sat, 06 August(2:30PM)||Cycling(Men’s Road Race)||Daryl Impey and Louis Meintjes|
|Sat, 06 August(3:30PM)||Rowing(Men’s coxless pair)||Shaun Keeling and Lawrence Brittain|
|Sat, 06 August||Swimming(400m individual medley)||Michael Julian Meyer (heat 2) and Sebastian Rousseau (heat 4)|
|Sat, 06 August(6:02PM)||Swimming(400m freestyle)||Myles Brown (heat 5)|
|Sat, 06 August(8:04PM)||Swimming(100m breaststroke)||Cameron van der Burgh (heat 5)|
|Sun, 07 August(12:00AM)||Football(Women’s tournament)||Banyana Banyana vs China|
|Sun, 07 August(3:10PM)||Rowing(Women’s coxless pair)||Lee-Ann Persse and Kate Christowitz|
|Sun, 07 August(3:40PM)||Rowing(Women’s lightweight double sculls)||Ursula Grobler and Kirsten McCann|
|Sun, 07 August(4:20PM)||Rowing(Men’s lightweight double sculls)||James Thompson and John Smith|
|Sun, 07 August(5:00PM)||Rowing(Men’s coxless four)||SA four|
|Sun, 07 August(6:19PM)||Swimming(Men’s 200m freestyle)||Chad le Clos (heat 5) and Myles Brown (heat 5)|
|Sun, 07 August(7:16PM)||Swimming(Men’s 100m backstroke)||Christopher Reid (heat 4)|
|Mon, 08 August(12:00AM)||Football(Men’s u/23 tournament)||SA under 23 vs Denmark|
|Mon, 08 August(6:34PM)||Swimming(Men’s 200m butterfly)||Chad le Clos (heat 2) and Sebastian Rousseau (heat 4)|
Please note: Gymnastics are not included because for the first few days it will only be qualifying.