Rio 2016 – The World’s Greatest Sporting Spectacle. Will you be watching?

The Opening Ceremony for the Olympic Games is set to begin at 20:00 local time (that’s midnight in the UK), at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. So what can we expect to see and who will be taking part? Here’s what we know so far.

Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games – Tough Acts to Beat?

Opening ceremonies for the Olympic Games are always eye-catching and exciting affairs. In 2012, for example, Danny Boyle, the renowned British film director, revealed his idea of the perfect introduction to the most famous sporting event in the world.

His ceremony, titled “Isles of Wonder”, cost around £31 million, and incorporated everything from a musical celebration of the N.H.S. to a parachute entrance by “the Queen” (Gary Connery, a stuntman, in a dress and hat). The performance, which lasted for just under four hours, also featured a host of famous faces both in the stadium and in short films, including David Beckham, Kenneth Brannagh, Evelyn Glennie, Daniel Craig, J.K Rowling, Sir Paul McCartney, and the real Queen Elizabeth II.

The stunning London ceremony cost significantly less than the show put on in China four years before, however. Praise for the Beijing spectacle, which cost an estimated £65 million to produce, was overshadowed slightly by controversy about lip-syncing and the use of computer-generated fireworks, but the event, which starred 15,000 performers, did feature some breathtaking scenes.

What Sort of Show Can the Brazilians Put On?

Confirmed details about the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony have been difficult to find, as plans for the event have been shrouded in secrecy. We do know that one of the creative directors for the show is Fernando Meirelles, who is best-known for directing the movies “City of God” (2002) and “The Constant Gardner” (2005). The others are prominent Brazilian film directors Andrucha Washington and Daniela Thomas.

Whilst they certainly have the talent to create an impressive show, reports in the press have suggested that their initial plans may have had to be scaled down dramatically due to severe budget cuts, as a result of the current economic crisis in Brazil.

Earlier this week, the Daily Mail quoted Meirelles as saying that the overall budget for the four Rio 2016 ceremonies (the opening and closing events for the Olympic Games and for the Paralympic Games) was slashed from $113.9 million to just $55.9m.

According to Meirelles, although he was initially upset about the cuts, eventually he embraced the idea, and turned it into something positive.

“In the end, I feel good that I am not spending money that Brazil hasn’t got. You can do something with heart, with concept, without spending,” he said.

What we do know is that it is likely to include performances by: Elza Soares, the samba singer; Karol Conká, the rapper; and MC Soffia, a 12-year-old hip-hop artist, who has become an internet sensation.

The Official Introduction to the Teams – The Parade of Nations for Rio 2016

The ceremony will also include the traditional ‘Parade of Nations’, which gives spectators the chance to see some of their favourite athletes before they get down to the serious business of battling for medals.

Andy Murray, the Scottish tennis star, has been selected to be Britain’s flag bearer for the 2016 Games. “To lead out Team GB will be an incredible honour, the biggest in sport,” he told the BBC.

Will you be watching the Rio 2016 Olympics Opening Ceremony? Were you at the Olympic Stadium to see the opening of London 2012? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.