The Opening Ceremony of this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, due to take place in exactly 100 days time, will convey a positive image of Brazil and unite the country at a time of division and conflict, the producer responsible for organising the event has predicted.
Protesters are spilling onto the streets both in support of and in opposition to under-fire President Dilma Rousseff as calls grow for her impeachment amid allegations she tried to manipulate budget gaps during the 2014 Presidential Election.
The Lower House of Parliament voted to support the impeachment process last week and, if the Senate opt to follow suit, she will be automatically forced to stand down for 180 days while a trial progresses.
Brazil is also moving towards its worst recession in over a century.
Critics, therefore, claim money would be better spent on hospitals and other problems rather than a sporting event.
Other issues, such as the Zika virus and water pollution fears, are also overshadowing preparations.
Rio 2016 ceremonies executive producer Marco Balich, however, believes the Opening Ceremony on August 5 can help unite the country at a time of conflict.
He promised a Ceremony defined by emotion.
“It will be full of beautiful moments,” the Italian told insidethegames.
“We want to show how the population can be happy and to convey the joy of the nation and the joy of life.”
Balich, also involved in Olympic Ceremonies at Turin 2006, Beijing 2008 and Sochi 2014, admits that the opening event will be “different” from those at previous Games due to budget cuts.
London’s Opening Ceremony was thought to have cost around £27 million ($41.5 million/€36 million) out of a total budget of £80 million ($122 million/€110 million) across the four Olympic and Paralympic ceremonies.
Four years earlier, China was reported to have spent more than $100 million (£60 million/€85 million) on a lavish four-hour Opening Ceremony featuring 15,000 performers as well as new technologies, which included it being the first event to use weather modification technology to prevent rainfall.
The budget for the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony is thought to be just 10 per cent of that allocated ahead of the London 2012 Games.
New technology will also be a focus in Rio 2016, said Balich, who was not prepared to reveal any precise details of the event.
“It will be an all-singing and all-dancing celebration of Brazilian culture,” he added.
Balich also praised the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for creating a new version of the Games despite some criticising the IOC for their lack of foresight in selecting Rio as host in 2009.
“They have opened new doors,” he said.
- By Nick Butler
- Republished with permission insidethegames.biz