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Anna Meares leads Australia in opening Olympic 2016

Fears about Rio staging the Olympics have been put to the side, at least for the time being, following a stunning, but modest, opening ceremony at the famous Maracana Stadium.
Organisers endured a troubled build-up blighted by security, economic and health concerns but they delivered on one of their promises by providing a party-like atmosphere to officially kick off what are the first Games to be held in South America.
The opening ceremony's budget paled in comparison to what was afforded to London four years ago, however what it lacked in financial resources it made up for with a brilliant and colourful reflection of Brazil and its proud people.

Legendary Kenyan distance runner Kip Keino delivered an impassioned speech as the first-ever recipient of the Olympic Laurel and International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach also spoke with distinction.
The opening ceremony will give the Games temporary respite from the criticism of its organisation, although the next 16 days of athletic competition could also help provide reassurance to a nervous IOC.
The Parade of Nations saw a record 207 teams march — with Kosovo and South Sudan doing so for the first time — and the entrance of the Olympic Refugee Team was among the ceremony's more emotional moments.

The Australian contingent taking part was reduced to just over 100 athletes, with large numbers opting to bypass the event so close to competing in the Games.
They were led into the stadium by two-time gold medallist cyclist Anna Meares, whose glowing smile matched the jovial mood of her team-mates.

The performance side of the ceremony was visually spectacular, as were the fireworks.
Brazil's indigenous peoples were celebrated, and the cultures of European and African nations were highlighted for their role in creating the cultural melting pot the country is today.

Celebrities have begun to play a larger role in Olympic opening and closing ceremonies and Rio did not disappoint on that front.
The vocal skills of Dame Judi Dench could be heard prior to the arrival of the athletes, while earlier in the program Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen made an entrance during the ceremony to the delight of spectators.

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