Rio 2016 officially open following Maracana Opening Ceremony

6th Aug 2016

The Games of the XXXI Olympiad are officially open following last night’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 Cordeiro 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 (Tennis) 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.”                                                                                                         

Kat Driscoll (Trampoline) said: “That was such an incredible experience. It was nice to be able to be a home nation in London but being part of the carnival here was amazing and completely different. Everyone’s buzzing and really happy that it’s finally started.”

Tim Kneale (Shooting) said: “The whole build-up was exciting with everyone getting dressed up and meeting outside British House made it all feel quite real. Then we all cheered when Andy picked the flag up and walking out with the whole team and hearing the crowd and hearing Great Britain being called out was fantastic.”

Justin Rose (Golf) said: “I wouldn’t necessarily get in this early for a tournament but I really wanted to get in for the Opening Ceremony and thought it would be the highlight of the week.                                                                                          

“It was a great to be part of a bigger Team GB as a whole and meet the whole team. It’s a long night but means you get to meet so many people and get to know their stories so all in all a really fun night.”                                                                         

Fiona Pennie (Canoe Slalom) said: “It was really exciting and everyone was going wild. There was a lot to take in when you first march in but it was a great experience. It’s down to the racing now and I'm looking forward to watching the boys this Sunday before my own competition on Monday.”

Chef de Mission Mark England said: “It was a very proud moment for the athletes to step out into one of the world’s great sporting arenas. It was everything we hoped it would be – vibrant, colourful and energetic.                                                                                                        

"The team loved it and it has given them a real boost ahead of the competition. It was great to see our senior athletes step up and show their support.”                                                                                                          

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.                                                                                                            

Huston had the honour of being the very first Brit to compete and the 20-year-old from Belfast finished 38th out of the 64 archers and will face the Netherlands’ Rick Van der Ven in the first knock-out round on Wednesday.                                                                                             

Folkard, competing in her fourth Olympic Games, finished in 23rd and will face Ika Rochmawati of Indonesia on Tuesday.                                                                                              

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.


Full Rio 2016 schedule here.