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  1. Former marathon runner Vanderlei de Lima lights the Olympic cauldron
  2. 207 teams parade at the Maracana Stadium
  3. Andy Murray carries GB flag
  4. New refugee team given great reception
  5. Russia receive mixed reception

Live Reporting

By Tom Rostance

All times stated are UK

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Highlights of a spectacular show

Checking out

Well, that was a long old night for us back in the UK. We hope you enjoyed that, and later on Saturday the real stuff begins.

Bring on the live sport!

I shall see you then. Good night/good morning one and all...

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Alex Haworth: Thought that was a good opening ceremony to be honest. Way better than London 2012 in my opinion.

Ali Clarke: Superbly hypnotically beautiful sculpture surrounding the #OlympicFlame#Brazil#Rio2016    Good luck & well played.

'You don't have to spend'

Michael Johnson

Four-time Olympic gold medallist athlete on BBC One

The opening ceremony truly reflected the culture of Brazil and Rio. There was focus on environment and sustainability but it was full of passion.

People like sport and enjoy life here. Coming from America, we are exactly the opposite which is work, work, work.

It was reflected beautifully in a simple way. They didn't spend as much money as Beijing or London and it proves you don't have to spend to make something spectacular.

The Olympic flame

Olympic flame

It's a beautiful thing. 

'A passion for living'

Michael Johnson

Four-time Olympic gold medallist athlete on BBC One

The opening ceremony truly reflected the very culture of Brazil. It was very simple but passionate. The people of Brazil have a passion for living!

The flame speaks out

The moment that I turn into a viewer 🔥🔥🔥 The party is all yours! Thanks #BRA😀 @gugakuerten, @Hortencia e Vanderlei Cordeiro #OpeningCeremony

Shiny disco ball

Olympic cauldron looks like the world's best disco glitterball

Olympic cauldron looks like the world's best disco glitterball

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Pottiella: Olympic flame well worth the ridiculous wait the past 40mins - minimalistic, beautiful and thoughtful

Liz Carlisle: Think the budget was mostly spent on led graphics and fireworks. But my, the cauldron is stunning

Kyle Scott: Flashback to 2004 Athens Marathon right there! Wow! What a moment #Rio2016



A massive flash of fireworks ends the night in Rio. The sculpture around the flame is really quite something. 

Remember the name?

Brazilian Vanderlei de Lima is best known for an extraordinary moment in the 2004 Olympics.

He was winning the marathon by a huge distance of some 20-30 seconds when a defrocked Irish priest Cornelius "Neil" Horan tackled him and he only won bronze.

Read all about it. 


More fireworks, the flame is lit and the Games are officially open!

The flame is in a cauldron of sorts, which is lifted high into the Rio sky to meet a huge sculpture by the artist Anthony Howe, representing the sun, the source of energy that the Games progamme says 'we should exploit.'



And now it's handed on to marathon runner Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima - WHO LIGHTS THE FLAME!

Gustavo Kuerten now passes the flame to a female basketball player Hortência Marcari...

Gustavo Kuerten looks hugely emotional here. What an honour, what a moment. 

Light the cauldron!

Here comes three-time French Open winner Gustavo Kuerten! He's got the Olympic flame firmly in his grasp...

They're dancing in the stands. Either that or the four hours sans bathroom break is triggering desperate measures. CAULDRON!


Badminton player Gabby Adcock's beaming smile says it all.

What an experience of a lifetime! 🇬🇧 #oneteam #honoured
What an experience of a lifetime! 🇬🇧 #oneteam #honoured
What an experience of a lifetime! 🇬🇧 #oneteam #honoured
What an experience of a lifetime! 🇬🇧 #oneteam #honoured

What an experience of a lifetime! 🇬🇧 #oneteam #honoured

Flying the flag

Great to see Marta carrying the #Olympics flag at the #OpeningCeremony #football 💪🇧🇷⚽️

Great to see Marta carrying the #Olympics flag at the #OpeningCeremony #football 💪🇧🇷⚽️

Did you know?

With the Rio 2016 Olympics now almost open, here are some of key numbers to digest at this late hour: 

  • 1 - Great Britain is the only country to have won a gold medal in every Games.
  • 3 - Estonia's Leila Luik, Liina Luik and Lily Luik will start in the women's marathon and become the first triplets to compete at the Olympic Games in an individual event.
  • 18 - American swimmer Michael Phelps holds the record for the most gold medals and the most medals in total (22) at the Olympics. 
  • 47 - Athletics is the sport with most medal events scheduled in Rio with 47 gold medals at stake.
  • 306 - A record 306 medal events will be contested at the Games. 
  • 978 - The United States needs 22 more medals to become the first country to win 1,000 golds at the Olympic Games. 

I think the eight-minute timescale in the programme has been blown out of the water. Maybe we are filling for Pele to make it after all...

It's almost time to light the cauldron. 


Oh Andy...


Andy Stewart: sat through the opening ceremony, when did Andy Murray lead out team GB? The commentators said second last team before Brazil?

Count them, 12 schools of drummers. Like some sort of twist on the 12 days of Christmas. It will be Christmas soon.

There is an eight-minute section of samba now as the stadium is transformed into a colourful painting by the celebrated Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes, to welcome the 12 drum sections of the main Samba Schools of Rio de Janeiro.

Of course!

Thanks @andy_murray for leading out @TeamGB into the Rio Olympics with such pride & passion #oneteam

Thanks @andy_murray for leading out @TeamGB into the Rio Olympics with such pride & passion #oneteam

The Olympic anthem has been sung, the oaths are up next. We may get this torch lit this side of 04:00 BST...

Oscar Schmidt gets a massive cheer, and a terrace chant too. A hugely popular man in these parts. 

The Olympic flag

The Olympic flag is carried into place, carried by Marta Vieira (Football), Ellen Gracie (First woman appointed to the Supreme Court in Brazil), Sandra Pires Tavares (Beach volleyball), Oscar Schmidt (Basketball), Joaquim Cruz (Athletics), Rosa Celia Pimentel (Cardiologist and founder of the Pró-Criança hospital), Torben Grael (Sailing), Emanuel Rego (Beach volleyball).

The acting president of Brazil Michel Temer says a few words - and he is loudly jeered. Not the most popular man in the nation.

He declares the Games open and we have an awful lot of fireworks!

Olympic pride

GB sailor Luke Patience was overwhelmed by GB's reception.

That was INCREDIBLE. And so it begins... #OpeningCeremony

That was INCREDIBLE. And so it begins... #OpeningCeremony

We are approaching seven hours of live text here. Still no flame lit...

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Rachel Drinkwater: Got tears in my eyes .. For what IOC is saying about the Refugees Olympic Team go #Rio

The Olympic rings

OK, it's not Danny Boyle's rings of fire from 2012, but it's not too far back on the scale of impressiveness. Above the 'planted' trees from the athletes in the centre, fireworks recreate the Olympic rings. 

Olympic rings formed by fireworks
Getty Images

'You are sending a message of hope'

IOC president Thomas Bach: "Dear refugee athletes. You are sending a message of hope to the millions of refugees around the globe. You had to flee your homes because of violence, hunger or just because you were different. In this Olympic world we do not just tolerate diversity, we welcome you as enrichment to our unity and diversity.

"There are millions around the world who contribute in different ways to make our world a better place through sport."

'We welcome the refugee team'

More from IOC president Thomas Bach: "We are living in a world of crisis, mistrust and uncertainty. Here is our Olympic answer. The 10,000 best athletes in the world competing with each other and at the same time living peacefully together, sharing their meals and emotions.

"In this Olympic world there is one universal rule for everybody. We are all equal.

"Respect yourselves, respect each other and the values which make the Games unique. We are living in a world where selfishness is gaining ground. Certain people claim to be superior to others. In the spirit of Olympic solidarity and with the greatest respect we welcome the refugee Olympic team."


All the flags in one place

Flags of the competing nations
Getty Images