Rio 2016: mission (very well) accomplished

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With the resounding success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Rio 2016 showcased the best of what Brazil has to offer

The closing ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games, 21 September, brought to an end a golden two weeks that exceeded all expectations from start to finish, with impeccable organisation, the integration of people from all over the world and the excitement of the hosts.

The magical and inspiring opening and closing ceremonies, full of colour, rhythm and careful choreography were designed to showcase “Brazilian-ness” in the monumental Maracanã stadium. The sense of pride was infectious and lifted the performance of the home-grown athletes, rewarding the home support with Brazil’s best performance at an Olympic Games. This positivity also motivated other delegations to leave Rio victorious, such as Team GB, which recorded Great Britain’s best ever Olympic campaign.

Full of intensity, the Rio Olympics soon became centre stage for some of the most extreme emotions. From the crowning of Olympic idols like Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt and Brit Andy Murray, to the coronation of long-time deserving Brazilian volleyball and football teams, to the rise of young revelations like gymnast Simone Biles, Brazilian Flávia Saraiva – only 17 years old – and the Brazilian canoer Isaquias Queiroz – the first Brazilian to win three medals at one Games.

The party put on by the hosts at the end of the closing ceremony captured an image that will remain long after the Games: a cheerful and high-spirited nation, with a thirst to put their best foot forward.

The Paralympics, which came to an end on 18 September, also played their glorious part, with more than 600 records broken, easily surpassing the number broken at London 2012 (about 450). Team GB excelled, finishing second in the medal table. The Brazilian delegation, with 287 athletes, ended up in the eighth place. After 11 days of competition, the closing ceremony was full of memorable moments, with the participation of several singers like Brazilian Ivete Sangalo (ambassador of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee) who sang alongside Brit Calum Scott, the duet alternating between English and Portuguese to deliver a beautiful message of courage, inspiration and strength.

Much like an athlete competing in the hurdles, Brazil was able to overcome the obstacles and show to the world that last minute uncertainty can lead to surprise and success; with a good dose of enthusiasm and a genuine desire to make things happen – Brazilians have this in abundance, and of course they have bossa.

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