Daily Olympian: Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony Preview

The official logo for the Rio 2016 Olympics -Getty-H 2016
Buda Mendes/Getty Images

The when, what and where of how to watch the start of the games. Plus, where to find a daily viewing guide, who's carrying the American flag and why NBC delayed the show.

Let the Games begin!

The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil officially begin tonight with the opening ceremony in the country’s famed Maracana stadium.

The opening ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC (8:30 p.m. in Rio, which is one hour ahead of the New York and the rest of the U.S. Eastern time zone), but — and here’s the big but — NBC is airing the ceremony on a one-hour delay to present what the network calls a “curated” broadcast. That decision has come with criticism. In interviews with The Hollywood Reporter, Jim Bell, who heads NBC’s Olympics coverage, and primetime Olympics host Bob Costas defended the delay. (The two also talk Zika, whether Rio is ready for the games, Russian doping and other hot topics).

Find all of THR’s Olympic coverage here.

The ceremony begins with a short film narrated by actor Giancarlo Esposito (check out a sneak peek here) and will feature Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen. A skit that may or may not have featured her being mugged and robbed has been cut (organizers say those who glimpsed it during a walkthrough of the ceremony misinterpreted a sketch featuring a street vendor trying to get a selfie with Bundchen as a robbery). Still organizers promise this will be the sexiest opening ceremony, with one Cariocan (that’s what residents of Rio are called) telling the Daily Mail, “There will be lots of nearly naked women doing the samba.”

THR will offer a full review of the ceremony. Check back Friday night for that.

Teams enter in alphabetical order based on the home country’s language. So if you want to catch the American team entering, tune in early because in Portuguese “Estados Unidos” will enter early (despite a request from NBC to use English so the team would enter nearer the end of the 4.5 hour ceremony. Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals, will carry the flag for the U.S. And he’ll be wearing a special jacket with an illuminated “U.S.A.” from Ralph Lauren, who designed the team’s uniforms. Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first American athlete to wear a hijab while competing, reportedly finished second in the voting by U.S. athletes. THR’s Pret-a-Reporter has more on Olympic team fashion highs and lows here and here).

This year, the Olympics feature teams from 206 nations and  for the first time  one made up of refugees (a truly heartwarming story), though the games have featured independent athletes before.

Teams have already arrived in Rio, with some (the Australians) complaining that the Athletes Village wasn’t habitable, while others have frittered away their time in unproductive wants (one Japanese Olympian racked up a $5,000 bill playing Pokemon Go on his phone).

NBC will broadcast some 6,755 hours from the Olympics, including more than 2,000 on traditional network and cable channels. How much is that? Forty years ago, ABC broadcast 76.5 hours of coverage from Montreal. Twenty years ago, NBC broadcast 170 hours of coverage (the last time it didn’t use cable channels as well). Even as late as 2000, the network broadcast just 440 hours of coverage). To help you navigate the coverage, THR offers a handy day-by-day viewing guide to the games.

Citius, Altius, Fortius!

(FYI: That’s the Olympic motto. Translated from Latin its "Faster, Higher, Stronger”).