The Rio 2016 Olympic Games closing ceremony brought to a spectacular close the last fortnight, during which Brazil has not ceased to surprise the watching world.
Highlighting Brazil’s most vivid colours, sounds and cultural aspects, the ceremony included tributes to the iconic singer Carmen Miranda – interpreted by Roberta Sá -, the women of Bahia, the country’s North-eastern lace makers, and even dancers dressed as the Pernambucan master Vitalino’s traditional clay dolls. The enchanting cultural narrative told a tale Brazil’s most famous rhythms, from the frevo to the baião, as well as, of course, samba.
One of the high points was the singing of the Brazilian National Anthem, by 27 children, each representing a Brazilian state, accompanied by a light show and 21 candomblé drums from Rio and Bahia.
The ceremony continued with the 207 delegations making their way across the Maracanã’s turf, each one led by their flag-bearer. The Brazilians were led by Isaquias Queiroz, the first Brazilian to win three medals at a single edition of the Games; whilst Andy Murray (double Olympic Champion) carried the flag for Team GB who, like Brazil, had their most successful Olympics ever.
Even with the rain pouring down, the spectators joined in whole heartedly with the fun. The biggest cheer was for the replay of Neymar’s winning penalty kick in the men’s football tournament. Other big ovations went out for US swimmer Michael Phelps and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, the two single biggest stars of the Games, who have announced that they won’t be competing in any further editions.
The show’s climax was the passing of the Olympic torch from Rio to Tokyo, host-city in 2020. The Japanese section. although short, was impressively technological and glitzy.
At the end of the show, the Maracanã was transformed into a great big Sapucaí – a ‘samba drome’, with drums, samba schools, dancers and floats, as the people of Rio made the rest of the world dance along to their beat.
All in all, it was a wonderful way to round off an event which passed all expectations. The crowing success was the peaceful, joyful atmosphere of the Games, from start to finish – just the way Brazil wanted to be remembered once the Olympics left town.