The Games of the XXXI Olympiad are officially open following tonight’s Opening Ceremony at the famous Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Acting President of Brazil Michel Temer declared the Games officially open with around 11,000 athletes set to compete for the 306 gold medals across 28 sports.
Defending Olympic Champion Andy Murray led the Team GB delegation into the samba-fuelled ceremony before marathon runner Vanderlei de Lima lit the Olympic Flame, kicking off the 16 days of sporting competition in Brazil. Team GB’s 366-strong team, set to compete across 23 sports, is the biggest travelling delegation since Barcelona 1992 and sees 151 athletes and 65 medallists return from four years ago at London 2012.
Andy Murray said: “It was amazing to get to carry the flag and but also be around the rest of the British team and chat to the guys. It’s been a really nice atmosphere and I’m obviously really proud to get the opportunity… My first thought was ‘don’t’ drop it’ and I was gripping onto the flag really tight. Then I was just trying to take it all in. The size of the stadium was incredible.”
The first Team GB athletes in action at Rio 2016 were actually in competition earlier in the day as archers Patrick Huston and Naomi Folkard contested the ranking round. Jen McIntosh will become the first Team GB athlete to compete for a medal at Rio 2016 in the women’s 10m Air Rifle as Day 1 of Rio 2016 gets underway. The day also sees the historic return of rugby to the Olympic programme and the sevens format is set to make its debut at Rio 2016. Team GB’s women will be in action, taking on Japan and hosts Brazil in the first of two days of pool matches before Monday’s finals.
All eyes will turn to the Copacabana later in the day as the men’s road race concludes with Chris Froome looking to add to his third Tour de France victory last month with gold in the men’s road race. The London 2012 time trial bronze medallist lines up alongside Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard, Adam Yates and Steve Cummings with the race concluding at around 8pm BST. The day also sees Team GB’s women’s hockey side take on Australia in their opening pool match and World Champion James Guy looking for a first swimming medal in the 400m freestyle.
Opening rounds are scheduled in the tennis, table tennis and boxing, Ashley McKenzie is the first judoka in action at the Games while our rowers take to the water in the first session of heats. Men’s qualification in the artistic gymnastics and the first day dressage featuring Gemma Tattersall and William Fox-Pitt round off an action-packed opening day for Team GB at Rio 2016.
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