Aug 5, 2016 10:23 PM
The Latest: NBC facing criticism for tape delay, commercials
The Associated Press
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The Latest on the Rio de Janeiro Summer Games opening ceremony (all times local):
In the U.S., NBC is facing social media criticism for its decision to delay the broadcast of the Olympic opening ceremony so it can be shown in prime time in all time zones.
Frequent commercial breaks including eight within the first 65 minutes of the ceremony also proved frustrating for time-shifting viewers accustomed to fast-forwarding through ads.
NBC began its telecasting of the festivities an hour after they begin in Rio on Friday night. On the U.S. West Coast, the telecast of the opening ceremony wasn't set to start for another hour.
NBC also didn't start streaming the event through its app or Olympics website until the television coverage began, and streamers had to authenticate their account with a cable or satellite service.
The network usually plays a cat-and-mouse game to prevent other websites from streaming the event. It remains to be seen how successful it will be.
The President of the International Olympic Committee says these Rio Games will promote peace.
Thomas Bach spoke not long after the parade of athletes into Maracana Stadium was completed on Friday night. Bach says all Brazilians "can be very proud tonight," then went on to talk about the importance of these Olympics.
Bach said, "We are living in a world of crises, mistrust and uncertainty. Here is our Olympic answer: The 10,000 best athletes in the world, competing with each other, at the same time living peacefully together in one Olympic Village, sharing their meals and their emotions."
Bach added that in this Olympic world, "we are all equal" — words that were met with applause.
He went on to ask the athletes to "respect yourself, respect each other, respect the Olympic Values which make the Olympic Games unique for you and for the entire world."
Bach concluded his remarks by presenting the Olympic Laurel to Kipchoge Keino, a two-time gold medalist from Kenya who went on to open an orphanage in his homeland.
Bach's speech was preceded by one from Rio Organizing Committee President Carlos Nuzman, who said "a new world is born today."
They saved the best ovation for last.
With fans chanting in unison, Brazil has entered the opening ceremony for the Rio Games and was welcomed with long and loud cheers from the 60,000 or so inside Maracana Stadium. The host nation always enters last, and the Brazilians were immediately preceded by another crowd favorite — the 10-person Refugee Team, which is competing under the Olympic flag.
Modern pentathlete Yane Marques carried the Brazilian flag in to lead her country's designation.
Years from now, organizers of the Rio Games hope there's 11,000 new trees in Brazil — one for each athlete at the Rio Games.
Each Olympian who entered the opening ceremony at Maracana Stadium on Friday night was given a seed and a cartridge of soil, which was to be placed in mirror towers all over the stage floor. Those cartridges will be taken to Deodoro and form what will be called the Athletes' Forest.
There's 207 species of trees being planted, one for each delegation at the games. It's all part of a massive sustainability and environmental awareness effort at these Olympics.
For many nations, the Olympics are a regular occurrence.
For Kosovo and South Sudan, this is a first.
They marched into the opening ceremony of an Olympics for the first time Friday night, making their debut at the Rio Games. Kosovo was officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee in 2014; South Sudan was recognized last year.
Kosovo's flag was carried by judo athlete Majlinda Kelmendi, who competed for Albania at the London Games four years ago. Kelmendi won a world title while competing in Rio in 2013.
After entering the stadium, Kelmendi said "it is a historical moment for my country and for me. It is very motivating for me."
Kosovo sent eight athletes to Rio. South Sudan, which had marathoner Guor Marial carry its flag, has a three-athlete team. Marial competed in London as an independent athlete.
A smaller Russian team has arrived at the opening ceremony.
A state-sponsored doping program led to the exclusion of many would-be Olympians in Rio and threatens the medals that Russia won in recent past Olympics.
The World Anti-Doping Agency recommended Russia's exclusion from the Olympics, but the International Olympic Committee didn't go along. The IOC asked individual sports federations to review doping histories of Russian athletes, and less than 24 hours before the opening ceremony, the IOC was finalizing the list of eligible Russian athletes.
Tony Parker is making no effort to hide how much he's enjoying this opening ceremony.
The San Antonio Spurs star — and French point guard at the Rio Games — says the Olympics are "one of the greatest and biggest sports events in the world."
On the floor of Maracana Stadium after the French walked into the opening Friday night, Parker said it was "just an unbelievable feeling to be able to be here to represent my country."
Parker is one of 46 active NBA players in these games.
Which countries are getting the warmest reception during the parade of nations?
Latin countries, Italy, France, Japan and the United States got the biggest cheer from the crowd at Maracana Stadium at the opening ceremony of the Rio Games.
Colombia is a neighboring country with plenty of supporters in Rio. Italy and Japan are two of the biggest communities that immigrated to Brazil. The American team also has a lot of support. Spain, Mexico and South Africa also got a big cheer from the crowd.
Argentina, Brazil's eternal rivals in soccer, got a mixed reaction.
Of course, the loudest cheer will be saved for last — when Brazil enters.
Jamaica is at the opening ceremony. Usain Bolt is not.
The two-time defending champion in the Olympic 100- and 200-meter races, as expected, skipped the opening ceremony for the Rio Games on Friday night. Bolt announced his decision earlier in the day.
Friday was the fourth anniversary of Bolt winning the gold in the 100 at the London Games.
Archer Zahra Nemati had a big smile and a wave for the crowd as she carried Iran's flag into the opening ceremony in her wheelchair.
Nemati is competing at the Olympics and Paralympics, where she's a defending gold medalist.
She was a black belt in taekwondo before a car accident paralyzed her as a teenager. She picked up archery a few years later because she wanted to compete in a sport.
Earlier Friday, she competed in archery's qualifying round at the Sambadrome. She shot 72 arrows and accumulated a score of 609 — good enough for 49th position.
She's competing to "make my family and the people around me happy, and let them know I'm OK and I'm strong."
Andy Murray has Olympic gold, two Wimbledon titles, a U.S. Open crown and is currently the No. 2 player in the world.
But even for someone with his resume, Friday night stood out.
Murray was the flagbearer for Britain at the opening ceremony for the Rio Games, and says it will go down as "the proudest moment of my professional career."
Murray will play both singles and doubles in Rio, the latter alongside his brother Jamie.
Murray says he's been blown away by the flagbearer title, noting that "it doesn't get much bigger than a chance to lead out your country."
The British team got a big ovation from the crowd in Rio, as did the French team when it entered moments earlier. French President Francois Hollande was in the crowd, cheering for his nation's athletes as they walked past.
After 18 gold medals and 22 medals overall in his storied Olympic career, Michael Phelps has finally entered an opening ceremony.
The flagbearer for the U.S. has led the contingent of red, white and blue-clad American athletes into Maracana Stadium, after being picked for that distinction earlier this week.
More than 500 Americans are on the Olympic team, though as was the case with Phelps in past years, not all of them marched in the opening. Phelps' competition schedule kept him from attending the first four openings of his Olympic career, and many athletes from around the world — if they're competing on Saturday — tend to pass on the ceremony.
The U.S. women's soccer team wasn't at the stadium because of their schedule and how far they are from the opening, but planned on having their own private ceremony of sorts. Players were set to wear their ceremony uniforms and essentially pretend marching, as if they were in Rio.
Athletes spend hours on their feet at the opening and often get to their beds well past midnight, not exactly the best situation for athletes looking to perform their best a day later.
Phelps said in the days leading up to the opening that he wants to "take it all in, represent America in the best possible way and make my family proud. This time around, it's about so much more than medals."
Given the water woes leading up to the Rio Games, sailing has had more than its share of problems going into these Olympics.
But at the opening ceremony, some of the sport's best will be on display — no woes to be found.
There's 13 flagbearers at the opening ceremony from sailing, which is more than the sport had at the Beijing Games and the London Games combined.
They are Sofia Bekatorou of Greece, Nicole Van der Velden of Aruba, Pavlos Kontides of Cyprus, Karl Martin Rammo of Estonia, Tuuli Petaja-Siren of Finland, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke of New Zealand, Vasilij Zbogar of Slovenia, Gintare Scheidt of Lithuania (the wife of popular Brazilian sailing star Robert Scheidt), Joao Rodrigues of Portugal, Rodney Govinden of Seychelles, Dolores Moreira of Uruguay and Cy Thompson of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
President Barack Obama says the Olympic Games build a sense of "common humanity" as countries pursue the ideal of sending their best to compete "in a spirit of goodwill."
Obama spoke to NBC ahead of the opening of the Rio Games.
The president says people know that the Olympic Games are not going to end war, eliminate poverty or stop the tragedies that occur daily around the world. Yet, he says, the Games contribute to a "sense of empathy."
Obama says coverage of the events also tells stories of individual athletes working hard to achieve a high level of competition. He says telling such stories "transports you into another place."
Germany was one of the first teams to enter the opening ceremony, much to the delight of one fan in particular.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach — a 1976 gold medalist in fencing for his native country — stood and waved with both hands as the Germans walked into Maracana Stadium.
Smiling broadly throughout, Bach remained standing until the entire contingent was inside the stadium.
These are the first summer games Bach has presided over. He became IOC president in 2013.
The parade of nations has started, and as always Greece is leading off. Two-time Olympic sailing medalist Sofia Bekatorou is the flagbearer.
Though most nations at an Olympic Games enter the opening ceremony in alphabetical order, there are exceptions. Greece goes first given its role as the birthplace of the Olympics. The host nation enters last, meaning Brazil will be waiting until the end of the parade to make its grand entrance. (In 2004, when Athens hosted the Olympics, the Greek athlete delegation entered last as well).
Another quirk for the opening is that the local language is used to alphabetize, meaning Portuguese this year.
So the United States of America — 198th in English alphabetical order out of the 207 participating teams — will enter 69th, since in Brazil the country's name translates to Estados Unidos da America.
If form from past games holds true, the parade of athletes should take slightly less than two hours.
Brazil's long, proud musical history is on full display in this high-energy start to the opening ceremony for the Rio Games.
From funk to samba to hip-hop, it's all being featured as the opening builds toward the entrance of athletes from around the world. Among the featured artists: Ludmilla, Cristian Do Passinho, Lelezinha, Elza Soares, Marcelo D2 and Karol Conka.
Video screens around Maracana Stadium are showing some of the lyrics, mostly in Portuguese, as fireworks go off and dancers clad in huge multi-colored wigs and red, yellow, white and orange outfits perform on the stadium floor.
It's been a source of long debate in Brazil about who invented the airplane.
Most people say the Wright Brothers.
In Brazil, they say Alberto Santos Dumont is the inventor — and that the Wright Brothers actually invented a "jumping machine." To pay homage to Dumont, a small plane appeared in the stadium during the portion of the opening ceremony that showed where Brazil began modernizing.
The plane's appearance only lasted for a few seconds.
The next big part of the show got much bigger cheers — that being Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen from one end of the stadium floor to another in a shimmering gown.
As she walked, "The Girl From Ipanema" blared through the stadium.
President Barack Obama says he's ready to cheer on the U.S. Olympians.
In a tweet on Friday night, not long after the opening ceremony started in Rio de Janeiro, the nation's first fan wrote "Our team's unity and diversity makes us so proud — and reminds the world why America sets the gold standard."
All Olympic opening ceremonies tend to pay homage to the host country's past, and this one is no different.
An image of a Pau-Brasil tree — the wood that gave its name to the country — digitally appeared on the floor of Maracana Stadium a few minutes into the start of Friday night's opening ceremony for the Rio Games, as if in the Amazon rainforest.
It's the country's national tree, has been on the list of threatened Brazilian plants and it's illegal to cut the few trees that remain.
Brazil was thick forest when first inhabited more than 500 years ago, and organizers thought that was the logical place to begin the ceremony.
Even some of the most subtle things at the opening have a meaning. The curved shape of the stages used in the ceremony are a nod to Oscar Niemeyer, a key figure in Brazilian architecture.
The unofficial anthem of Rio de Janeiro is being featured prominently as the opening ceremony gets underway.
The song "Aquele Abraco" — which translates to "That Hug" — by Grammy winner Gilberto Gil played a role in both the closing ceremony of the London Games four years ago and in Brazil's bid for these Rio Games.
The song was the soundtrack for the opening video, which started precisely at 8 p.m. in Rio.
Gil is credited for helping revolutionize Brazilian music in the 1960s. He wrote Aquele Abraco not as a celebration piece, but as his farewell to Rio. He was jailed in 1968 after angering Brazil's military dictatorship and lived in exile in London from 1969 through 1972.
The first line of the song : "Rio de Janeiro is still beautiful."
From there, fireworks blasted from the top of the stadium and the Brazilian national anthem quickly followed. Among the most generally cited lyrics to the song are these: "Giant by thine own nature, thou art beautiful, thou art strong."
The official Brazilian flag has been hoisted by Rio de Janeiro's Environmental Police Command. Protecting and sustaining Brazil's environment will be a theme of the opening, and will continue throughout the games.
The opening ceremony did not mean a warm reception for everyone.
As Brazilian government officials took their seats, a smattering of boos could be heard in Maracana Stadium. It could be expected, given the political times in Brazil right now.
Many residents are upset over how much money was spent on these games, saying it could have been better-directed toward Brazilian needs. Interim President Michel Temer took over following the suspension in May of President Dilma Rousseff on impeachment charges.
And the booing didn't last long — when the show started, the crowd roared in delight.
Long lines are still outside Maracana Stadium, waiting to get through the copious team of security and into their seats for the opening ceremony.
But inside, the pre-show is underway.
Brazilian entertainer and television personality Regina Case is on the stadium floor, teaching fans in the stadium certain roles they will play in the show. Case says that 60,000 fans will be in the stadium, but she reminded the crowd that 3 billion will be watching on television worldwide.
Case told the crowd, "Here in Brazil, we like to party ... and we believe the people are made to shine." And she reminded the crowd that they are "the stars of this show" as the lights of the stadium dimmed and the only illumination was coming from the lights of thousands of fans' cell phones.
Outside, military vehicles, police and 35 checkpoints filled the streets near the stadium. Their presence created long lines and traffic jams.
Neither Brazil's Defense Ministry nor Rio de Janeiro police will say how many security personnel are on the ground to secure the Olympic opening ceremony. As many as 85,000 will be on site until the end of the games. That's twice as many as London four years ago. More would have been on the ground if Rio wasn't forced to cut about $550 million from the Olympic budget amid a recession.
Most of the nations marching in Friday's opening ceremony for the Rio Games will not have a head of state in Maracana Stadium to help cheer their arrival.
Officials had predicted as many as 100 heads of state would attend the first Olympics in South America. But that fell way flat, with about 25 expected to attend Friday night — in large part because of very uncertain political times in Brazil.
For now, the country essentially has two presidents. Interim President Michel Temer took over following the suspension in May of President Dilma Rousseff on impeachment charges.
Among those who are coming: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Fans are filing into Maracana Stadium, as the opening ceremony for the Rio Games gets set to begin later Friday night.
Once considered the biggest stadium in the world with a capacity of nearly 200,000, Maracana Stadium now holds around 80,000 people.
Opened in 1950 for the World Cup, in which Uruguay beat the hosts 2-1 in the final, the stadium has been renovated many times over the years. Pele scored the 1,000th goal of his career there in 1969, and the field has been the site for countless major soccer matches at many levels.
Frank Sinatra, Tina Turner and Paul McCartney all played there in the 1980s to massive crowds of about 180,000. KISS, Sting, Madonna, Pearl Jam, the Rolling Stones and Prince are among the many other performers to grace Maracana's stage.
The stadium was the site of the 2014 World Cup final. Germany topped Argentina 1-0 for the title.
The closing ceremony is at the stadium as well, as are the opening and closing events of the Paralympics.