After a bit of a hectic bus ride, with our bus driver getting lost en route to Maracana Stadium, I got in cue with thousands of other media members trying to find our seats for the opening ceremonies. I thought five hours would be enough to lead time to beat the traffic and crowds and get into my position ready to cover, but I was wrong. With inexperienced bus drivers along routes that are blocked by police, no signage and staff to direct foot traffic at venues, and long lines at security, I’m going to get used to allocating a lot more time to get into events.
The best part was once I found my marked seat in the photographer position and finally prepared all my cameras in anticipation for these art of the ceremony, with one minute left before the kickoff all hell broke loose. Several irate Brazilian ticket holders tried to kick the media out of our seats, waving their tickets in our faces saying we stole their seats. As we also had identical tickets it became quite apparent that someone had double ticketed our section which was supposed to be for photographers. After the commotion settled and we missed much of the opening minutes of the ceremony, we all just found empty seats and continued on.
The ceremony itself was entertaining, with a nice mix of Brazilian culture and colorful costumes and fireworks. Gisele Bunchen walked the longest runway if her life in a tight fitting dress, an early airplane flying out of the stadium and virtually continuing through the the famous parts of Rio, and the Olympic Rings exploding upward via fireworks were some of the highlights. After a very long procession of athletes (2.5 hours) some nice performances and speeches were given, especially by the President of the BOC to commence the games.
Here’s some more of my favorite photos…enjoy!