Rio Olympics 2016: From Thomas Bach to Andy Murray, who said what at the opening ceremony - Firstpost
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Rio Olympics 2016: From Thomas Bach to Andy Murray, who said what at the opening ceremony

The 2016 Rio Olympics were declared open by Brazil's interim president Michel Temer amid a chorus of boos and jeers at Rio de Janeiro.

Brazilian marathon runner Vanderlei Cordeiro lit the Olympic cauldron on Friday to mark the start of the 2016 Games.

Fireworks are tested for the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maracana stadium. AP

Fireworks are tested for the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maracana stadium. AP

Cordeiro famously led the 2004 Olympic marathon in Athens before victory was snatched from him when he was attacked by a spectator. He eventually won the bronze.

Tennis star Gustavo Kuertem kicked off the cauldron relay on Friday which concluded the opening ceremony.

He handed over to 1996 Olympic basketball silver medallist Hortencia Marcari who in turn passed it to Cordeiro.

The opening ceremony was decidedly simple and low-tech, a reflection of Brazil's tough economic times. In one of the world's most unequal societies, the spectacle celebrated the culture of the favelas, the slums that hang vertiginously above the renowned beaches of Rio and ring the Maracana.

The world was enthralled by the vibrant ceremony in Rio and here how top personalities reacted at the ceremony

The Officials

"Our admiration for you is even greater because you managed this at a very difficult time in Brazilian history. We have always believed in you."

- International Olympic chief Thomas Bach

"Here we stand to deliver history. History to be made by the athletes, the volunteers, the public, the youth. The Olympic dream is now a wonderful reality. The best place in the world is here and now. Rio, Brazil welcomes the world with open arms."

- Organising committee president Carlos Nuzman

The Athletes

"I just hope I don't fall. That would be a real nightmare."

- Denmark flagbearer Caroline Wozniacki

"My samba dancing is terrible, horrible -- and I won't be doing it."

- Andy Murray, carrying the flag for Britain

"I got my hair dyed green and yellow for the team. My friend in Miami did it and it took about three hours."

- Jamaican sprint star Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

"I will be proud and not nervous. It is time now to think about the sport."

- Rose Nathike Lokonyen, carrying the flag for the refugee team

"It was my mum (Sue) who rung me and told me. She's been sick for a while but the doctors gave her permission to come to Brazil and she is somewhere in Rio with my sister watching on a big screen. That makes it extra special."

- Ella Nicholas of the Cook Islands who discovered she was on flag duty from her mother

"I don't think anyone's dropped the flag and I don't want to be the first."

- Ireland's Patrick Barnes

"In the past two months for sure it affected the athletes. It was a difficult situation. We were ready for the worst, the whole Russian team could have been banned, but there were reasonable people that too the right decisions. It is clear that there is a doping problem, but the clean athletes they should not suffer from that."

- Russian volleyball player Sergei Tetyukhin

"We've got some pretty cool cloaks from back home. It's pretty special to be wearing that with all the past flagbearers that have worn it before. It just brings the mana (respect) of everyone that's gone in this team before."

- New Zealand's Peter Burling

"I'm very nervous because I get sweaty palms. I have a tendency to be a bit clumsy but I'll make sure I won't let this one go."

- Australian flagbearer, cyclist Anna Meares

"It is a very special moment, especially for the older generation in Kosovo. They have survived wars, they went through such hard times and what is happening today has been a dream for a long time for all people in Kosovo."

- Majilinda Kelmendi, flag bearer for Kosovo who are in their first Games


"Tonight, the first-ever #TeamRefugees will also stand before the world and prove that you can succeed no matter where you're from."

- US president Barack Obama

"Nailed it @andy_murray!"

- Chris Hoy, who carried the British flag in 2012, congratulating Murray's flawless, one-handed flag-carrying technique.


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