While some athletes have already started competing, the official opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro is set to take place Friday evening at the famed Maracana Stadium.
A live stream of the event is available here. The opening ceremony is scheduled to being at 8 p.m. EDT. Viewers across the U.S. will see the NBC broadcast at different times depending on their time zones. For a full list of channels for sporting events, click here.
In a break from the extravagance of past ceremonies, Brazil has taken a more low-key approach that still promises to reflect the country's diversity and culture. The theme of the opening ceremony will focus on the Brazilian smile, sustainability, and the Amazon as well as “gambiarra,” which roughly translates as improvising with the materials you have.
“This is not an opulent event given the situation in Brazil,” executive producer of the opening ceremony Marco Balich told Reuters.
The Summer Games have come at a difficult moment for Brazil both economically and politically. The country’s economy is undergoing its deepest recession in 80 years after seeing an economic contraction of 3.8 percent in 2015. The country’s suspended President Dilma Rousseff is undergoing an impeachment investigation with a verdict expected at the end of August or early September, Reuters reported.
Brazil’s opening ceremony will feature a low-emissions cauldron and is expected to cost around $20 million. The opening ceremony of the London Games in 2012 came with a $42 million price tag.
There will be plenty of Brazilian music and dance beats throughout the ceremony. Famous Brazilian musicians Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso are participating along with a 12-year-old rapper and dancers from 12 samba schools in Rio. Supermodel Gisele Bündchen will play the role of the girl from Ipanema and Brazilian model Lea T will be the first transgender person to play a major role in an Olympic opening ceremony.
“I hope that the opening ceremony will be a drug for depression in Brazil,” Fernando Meirelles, one of the creative directors of the ceremony and the director of the film “City of God,” told CNN. “Brazilians can look at it and say ‘We are a cool people, we are different ethnic groups, we live together, we never went to war, we are peaceful, we know how to enjoy life and we tend to be happy.'”
Approximately 3 billion people around the world are expected to tune in for the opening of the games which will feature 4,800 participants and 11,000 athletes. The athletes will gather at the center of the stadium to celebrate the kick off of the games. It remains a tightly held secret on who will light the cauldron.