Opening Ceremonies was held in the Maracana soccer stadium. It is the famed stadium that Brazilian soccer star Pele scored his 1000 goal. It holds more that 100,000 people and there was not an empty seat in the house. Holding true to the theme of the whole ceremony, "Viva essa Energia!" or "Share the Energy!", the brazilian people did not disappoint!
We got all did up in our USA delegation attire. (Remember that sweet outfit from a few posts back?) I have to admit once we were all wearing them in one huge pack. We didn't look so special. Golf shorts on. Brand new white shoes beaming. We were ready to march.
Our Team dominated the US procession line. Being the first athletes behind the flag bearer. First to bust out of the tunnel into the stadium and shake it with the thousands of people playing drums and dancing along the path to our seats in the stadium. We tried to focus on the crazy positive energy that surrounded down amongst the other athletes and volunteers. Yet a lot of what we heard was "Boo!". We all pretended that they were cheering like crazy for us. Smile and wave. Smile and wave. Dance a little somewhere in there too.
Unlike other Opening Ceremonies I have been to, the athletes were allowed to sit in the stands and watch the rest of the show instead of being corralled together in the middle of the field while the festivities go on around you. As our team did in the athlete procession, we dominated the seating too and sat in the front row! Go polo girls!
To conclude the ceremony they had some very important Brazilian sports teams and athletes carry the Pan American torch around the stadium. Then they lit a huge metal orb on fire which happened to be sitting just to the left of us. It was an amazing thing to see. Olympic caliber.