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August 05, 2016

The Rio 2016 Olympics officially kicked off Friday night with an opening ceremony fit for Brazil.

Fernando Meirelles, the Brazilian director whose films include “City of God” and “The Constant Gardener,” was one of the creative directors of Friday night's ceremony.

The opening segment featured dazzling colors, with laser lights and 3D projects creating an intense display inside of Maracaña Stadium. While grand, the budget for Rio's opening ceremony was just a tenth of London's in 2012, according to CNN.

The organizers three themes for the show were Gambiarra—the Brazilian talent to create greatness from nothing—as well as Brazilian art and the search for peace on Earth.

Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen made an appearance, walking the longest catwalk she'll ever walk, she said on Instagram.

The Olympics symbolize so much for our global community. The unity that is felt is amazing and gives me goose bumps. There is so much dedication and love the athlete’s themselves pour into their chosen sport. Each athlete has given their all to achieve lifelong dreams and their journeys have led them here to Rio to compete for their countries with pride. The energy is electric and contagious. I am so happy to be part of the opening ceremony in my homeland and to celebrate these bright stars from around the globe. I truly believe that each Olympian lights the path for the next young child dreaming of being at the Olympics and encourages the practice of sports. As I walk down tonight on the longest runway I have ever been on I will be sending out all my love and positivity. I am humbled and honored to be part of this historic moment for my country. I believe that the unity is the key to creating a world filled with kindness, gratitude, peace, and love. Os Jogos Olímpicos simbolizam muito para a nossa comunidade global. A união de todos os povos é maravilhosa e me dá arrepios. É tocante ver que os atletas colocam toda sua dedicação e amor no esporte escolhido por eles. Cada atleta deu seu melhor ao longo de sua vida para alcançar seus sonhos, e suas jornadas os trouxeram aqui para o Rio para competir por seus países, com orgulho. A energia é eletrizante e contagiante. Estou muito feliz por fazer parte da cerimônia de abertura no meu país e por celebrar as estrelas do esporte de todo o mundo. Eu realmente acredito que cada atleta olímpico ilumina o caminho para a próxima criança que sonha fazer parte dos Jogos Olímpicos e estimula a prática do esporte. Hoje à noite, quando eu desfilar pela mais longa passarela em que já estive, vou estar enviando todo o meu amor e positividade. Sinto-me honrada por fazer parte deste momento histórico para o meu país. Acredito que união é a chave para criar um mundo cheio de bondade, gratidão, paz e amor.

A photo posted by Gisele Bündchen (@gisele) on

Dance, a vital part of the Brazilian identity, is a foundation to much of the performance.

There are more than 11,000 athletes competing in the Rio 2016 Olympics, and each of them has received a seed to plant an “Olympic forest” in the city. The hope is that those seeds become a lasting tribute to the games.

The athletes from Greece—where the first Olympics took place in 776 BC—were first to enter Maracaña Stadium.

The Olympic torch was brought into the stadium by Gustavo Kuerten, a Brazilian tennis star, who then handed it off to Hortensia Marcari, a basketball player, and finally to Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima, who lit the flame.

The Olympic Games will continue through August 21. Even if you can't make it to Rio, there are plenty of ways to follow along and watch your favorite athletes.  

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