It is going to be the most awaited sporting event of year and even bigger for South America, where Olympics is being held for the first time. A grand ceremony as is the tradition will mark the opening of the 17-day sports carnival, being held from August 5 to August 21) and has been indeed a turbulent build up to the event for the beautiful, yet troubled country, Brazil.
The beginning of the event will be marked by football legend Pele igniting the flame at Rio’s iconic Maracana Stadium in Friday’s opening ceremony (which according to IST will be, and in the US it is ). It is going to be memorable for participants and viewers across the world as Usain Bolt will dash to the draw line under the gaze of Christ, the redeemer statue, sailors will compete under the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain and it will be a homecoming of sorts for the beach volleyball event on the golden sands of Copacabana.
The event was ridden with controversies, Brazil’s political safety concerns, outbreak of Zika virus and not to forget the deeply shocking Russian doping scandal. Yet what can mar the charm of Olympics. This year around 11,239 athletes from across the world will compete and that will include the debutants Kosova and South Sudan and the 10-member-team; the first ever Olympic refugee team. Yusra Mardini, an 18-year-old refugee who less than a year ago was fleeing from her homeland and was forced to swim for her life across Mediterranean is part of the refugee team. She says – it is not just a struggle for sport – but struggle for life.
The opening ceremony is scheduled for 8 pm Brazil time, at Rio De Janeiro PM on August 5. And in India, it is eight and a half hours ahead of Brazil which makes it 04.30 am IST (morning of August 6 or Saturday) or 2300 GMT on August 5.