From Hot Tongan Flag Bearer to Celebrated Ibtihaj Muhammad: The Viral Moments of Rio's Opening Ceremony
Viewers crushed on Tonga's Pita Taufatofua and Gisele Bundchen, and they applauded Michael Phelps and Team USA's diversity, highlighting the first Muslim-American to compete at the Olympics in a hijab.
According to Twitter, Tonga's flag bearer stole the show during the 2016 Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony on Friday night.
During the Parade of the Nations — which traditionally runs for a long portion of the show — Pita Taufatofua appeared, shirtless and oiled up, to keep viewers glued to the kickoff event, which ran for five hours on NBC.
But the flag bearer was far from the only viral moment to emerge from Rio de Janeiro.
Gisele Bundchen's Maracana Stadium catwalk, the Michael Phelps and Ibtihaj Muhammad-led Team USA entrance (and Phelps' fashion fail) and Brazil's claim that the Wright brothers were not, in fact, the ones to invent flight were a few of the topics steering the social media conversation as the Summer Games were about to get underway.
See the most viral moments from the opening ceremony — and the best reactions — below.
Twitter found itself in a frenzy over hot Tongan flag bearer Pita Taufatofua, the greasy Taekwondo athlete who led his non-shirtless teammates during the Parade of Nations:
TONGA GREASED UP THEIR FLAG BEARER pic.twitter.com/iaUwaYyotc— THERE IS KANDA (@glen_ichinose) August 6, 2016
The sound you hear is your wife running away to the Tongan flag bearer.— Slava Malamud (@SlavaMalamud) August 6, 2016
Tonga or Magic Mike 3, you decide. pic.twitter.com/4qVDBAVSB5— Mark (@MarkMizzouSteel) August 6, 2016
OMG THE TONGA FLAG BEARER!!! pic.twitter.com/nxaR9bUkR1— bluekd (@bluekd07) August 6, 2016
Moving to Tonga. Their national dress is a six pack covered in baby oil. #OpeningCeremony— David Morgan (@thisisdavid) August 6, 2016
Turkey seems awfully . . . clothed, coming after Tonga and all. #OpeningCeremony— sonia Q. verma (@sQverma) August 6, 2016
Brazil's claim during the opening ceremony that aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont was the first to fly the airplane instead of the Wright brothers was immediately called out by Twitter's Team USA:
The Wright Brothers are literally all Dayton has, Brazil. Don't take that from them.— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) August 6, 2016
Brazil said: "Nope, Wright Brothers we had the first flight". Shots fired #OpeningCeremony— Atima Omara (@atima_omara) August 6, 2016
Brazil doesn't believe the Wright Brothers had the first powered flight pic.twitter.com/7oROxEB7e8— Alan (@alan_boles4) August 6, 2016
THE WRIGHT BROTHERS HAD NO WITNESSES pic.twitter.com/S9ksKLcNE9— dodai (@dodaistewart) August 6, 2016
This phenomenal dancing and choreography isn't going to make me forget that Brazil just disrespected the Wright brothers #OpeningCeremony— Steve Wojcik (@Steve_Wojcik) August 6, 2016
Just putting this out there... Wright brothers. Inventors of powered flight. pic.twitter.com/z15DX4VEkR— Wright State Univ. (@wrightstate) August 6, 2016
Ibtihaj Muhammad, the U.S. fencer who becomes the first American athlete to compete at the Olympic games in a hijab, and her front-row Team USA entrance was praised on Twitter:
Nice spotting Ibtihaj Muhammad up front in the U.S. delegation https://t.co/iLGDDMrIw6— Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) August 6, 2016
For her last walk, celebrated Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen's took the longest catwalk of her career when she sashayed across the length of Macarana Stadium — around 500 feet — to the tune of "The Girl From Ipanema" by local artist Daniel Jobim:
Gisele's still walking. She's out the stadium and heading into downtown Rio. She cannot be stopped. #OpeningCeremony— Dave Turner (@mrdaveturner) August 5, 2016
Some say Gisele is still walking #OpeningCeremony— open ur cloth (@ddaappoo) August 5, 2016
Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, was the celebrated flag bearer for Team USA. However, he and designer Ralph Lauren promoted a stunt ahead of the ceremony — his battery-powered blazer was supposed to light up his U.S. Olympic Team logo on the front and back — but the wearable tech didn't reflect on TV:
i heard that @MichaelPhelps blazer is going to light up when he holds the flag and tbh thats the only reason that im watching the opening— emoly (@emily_davignon) August 6, 2016
Hoda: Did you notice Michael Phelps' jacket is supposed to light up in the back? Me: Huh? #OpeningCeremony— Polly Carver-Kimm (@PollyCarverKimm) August 6, 2016
All the technology Polo put into Michael Phelps' light-up jacket and all anyone will remember from tonight is a greased-up shirtless Tongan.— Wayne Drehs (@espnWD) August 6, 2016
Pokemon Go, which added 15 new countries on Friday, also made an appearance in the stadium: