Rio Olympics 2016 Opening Ceremony

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Update:  06:19 hrs IST: A proud moment for a billion people as India arrive at the Maracana. Abhinav Bindra is the flag-bearer. They have sent their largest-ever contingent in Rio. Hopes are on Leander Paes and world number two Saina Nehwal to give them glory in Rio.

Rio de Janeiro: Two of Brazil’s greatest strengths its dazzling culture and its flair for spectacle will power the Opening Ceremony of the Summer Olympics on Friday night. Organizers will unleash samba drums, singers and dancers in a show designed to thrill a global audience and silence the criticism surrounding the preparations.

To pull it off, producers had to figure out how to move thousands of athletes and hundreds of performers in and out of a stadium whose field presents a unique problem. As one official explains, “There is no entrance.”

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We’ll dig into that later. For now, let’s focus on the positive.

“I hope that the Opening Ceremony will be a drug for depression in Brazil,” film director Fernando Meirelles says in material provided to the media in Rio de Janeiro.

Supermodel Gisele Bundchen will also play a role. The idea is to present a strong and beautiful message that drowns out the drumbeat of negative stories we’ve heard about these Olympics, from construction problems and the threat of the Zika virus to pollution and environmental concerns. And then there’s Brazil’s economic and political turmoil, which has exacted a toll on Friday’s show.

The show will culminate in a carnival that will celebrate the arrival of more than 11,000 athletes from more than 200 countries in the stadium.

The ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. EDT. We’ll be live-blogging the ceremony here at The Torch. From start to finish, we’re expecting the show to last around four hours.NBC says its telecast will have a one-hour time delay, which it hopes will bring in more viewers during the evening hours.

The 31st Olympiad will begin in Brazil on Saturday with the opening ceremony being held in Rio de Janeiro. This will be the first that the Olympics will be held in the South American country. More than 10, 000 athletes are participating in the Games. India is sending its largest ever contingent to the Olympics with 119 athletes. The opening ceremony will begin at 0430 hrs IST and each country will walk out in alphabetical order at the Olympics stadium in Rio. The Indian contingent is expected to walk out around 0600 hrs IST. While there have been couples of qualifying and ranking events prior to the opening ceremony, the first events will be held on Saturday. India will be hoping to overhaul its medal record of six from the London Olympics.