The Latest: Brazilian marathoner Vanderlei De Lima lights the Olympic cauldron

An artist performs during the opening ceremony for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. AP Photo

WATCH LIVE: Watch the opening ceremony here. It begins at 7:30 p.m. ET.

NOTE: Viewers will be asked to authentic the live stream with their cable provider credentials after 30 minutes of viewing.

RIO DE JANEIRO – The Latest on the Rio de Janeiro Summer Games opening ceremony (all times local):

11:54 p.m.

Brazilian marathoner Vanderlei De Lima has lit the cauldron at the Rio Games.

De Lima was one of the suspected candidates after Pele revealed earlier Friday that health problems would keep him from attending the opening ceremony at Maracana Stadium.

So 12 years later than he likely would have, De Lima got his golden moment.

De Lima was leading the 2004 race at the Athens Games when a protester attacked and disrupted his run. De Lima wound up finishing third, but has been lauded for how he’s handled the incident.

Gustavo Kuerten carried the torch into the stadium, then handed it to Brazilian basketball legend Hortencia Marcari. She brought it to the stage, then De Lima brought it up the stairs and held it aloft for 60,000 to cheer.

With that, the cauldron – one unlike any other in Olympic history – was lighted.

Brazilian officials wanted this cauldron smaller than most, a reminder to reduce global warming caused by fossil fuels and greenhouse gases. The flame is housed in a giant sculpture, with spirals to represent the sun.



11:40 p.m.

The first recipient of the Olympic Laurel asked the athletes of the Rio Games to follow him and help support the youth of the world.

Kip Keino, a two-time Olympic champion who went on to open an orphanage in his native Kenya, gave a heartfelt speech at the opening ceremony of the Rio Games on Friday night.

He thanked his supporters, then told the athletes inside Maracana Stadium that he had a humble request.

Keino said, “Join me and support all the youth of this world to get the basics of humanity: food, shelter and education. Education not only empowers our youth to be better citizens and leaders of the future, but it will also help them make a positive change and a mighty difference.”

Change for good was a major theme of the opening.

With green Olympic rings and white kites, organizers of the Rio Games tried to stress two very important messages at the opening ceremony: Take better care of the planet, and each other.

Once the Brazilian delegation entered Maracana Stadium to end the parade of nations at the opening, rings carrying seeds and soil were moved into the Olympic five-ring shape – and displayed in green in a reference to transplanting depleted forests, not the traditional colors of the games.

Not long afterward, the “dove of peace” was flown, only in this case instead of a bird it was 200 white kites. The kites were taken to Kenya and given to children who had never played with ones before. They wrote messages of peace on them, and then the kites were taken back to Rio to be flown by children in Brazil.


11:35 p.m.

Brazilian sailing Olympian Robert Scheidt has taken the athletes’ oath, on behalf of all competitors at the Rio Games.

The oath reads: “In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams.”

Also, Martinho Nobre took a similar oath on behalf of all judges who will oversee competition in Rio over the next two-plus weeks, and Adriana Santos recited an oath for all the coaches involved in these games.

The oath has been taken by an athlete before every Olympics since 1920. Past oath-takers include the American grandfather-grandson duo of speedskater Jack Shea (1932, in his native Lake Placid) and skeleton competitor Jimmy Shea (2002, before the Salt Lake Games). The Sheas are part of the first family with three generations of Olympians, and both Jack Shea and Jimmy Shea won gold medals after taking the oath.

11:30 p.m.

Brazil’s Interim President has been booed as he spoke to help open the Rio Games.

Michel Temer spoke for only a few seconds, and as he sat back down he was roundly booed by many of the 60,000 or so fans inside Maracana Stadium for the opening ceremony on Friday night.

A short blast of fireworks followed Temer’s remarks, in part to drown out the booing.

Temer took over following the suspension in May of President Dilma Rousseff on impeachment charges. Rousseff was not at the opening ceremony.


11:20 p.m.

In the U.S., NBC is facing social media criticism for its decision to delay the broadcast of the Olympic opening ceremony so it can be shown in prime time in all time zones.

Frequent commercial breaks including eight within the first 65 minutes of the ceremony also proved frustrating for time-shifting viewers accustomed to fast-forwarding through ads.

NBC began its telecasting of the festivities an hour after they begin in Rio on Friday night. On the U.S. West Coast, the telecast of the opening ceremony wasn’t set to start for another hour.

NBC also didn’t start streaming the event through its app or Olympics website until the television coverage began, and streamers had to authenticate their account with a cable or satellite service.

The network usually plays a cat-and-mouse game to prevent other websites from streaming the event. It remains to be seen how successful it will be.


11:15 p.m.

The President of the International Olympic Committee says these Rio Games will promote peace.

Thomas Bach spoke not long after the parade of athletes into Maracana Stadium was completed on Friday night. Bach says all Brazilians “can be very proud tonight,” then went on to talk about the importance of these Olympics.

Bach said, “We are living in a world of crises, mistrust and uncertainty. Here is our Olympic answer: The 10,000 best athletes in the world, competing with each other, at the same time living peacefully together in one Olympic Village, sharing their meals and their emotions.”

Bach added that in this Olympic world, “we are all equal” – words that were met with applause.

He went on to ask the athletes to “respect yourself, respect each other, respect the Olympic Values which make the Olympic Games unique for you and for the entire world.”

Bach concluded his remarks by presenting the Olympic Laurel to Kipchoge Keino, a two-time gold medalist from Kenya who went on to open an orphanage in his homeland.

Bach’s speech was preceded by one from Rio Organizing Committee President Carlos Nuzman, who said “a new world is born today.”

10:51 p.m.

They saved the best ovation for last.

With fans chanting in unison, Brazil has entered the opening ceremony for the Rio Games and was welcomed with long and loud cheers from the 60,000 or so inside Maracana Stadium. The host nation always enters last, and the Brazilians were immediately preceded by another crowd favorite – the 10-person Refugee Team, which is competing under the Olympic flag.

Modern pentathlete Yane Marques carried the Brazilian flag in to lead her country’s designation.


10:45 p.m.

Years from now, organizers of the Rio Games hope there’s 11,000 new trees in Brazil – one for each athlete at the Rio Games.

Each Olympian who entered the opening ceremony at Maracana Stadium on Friday night was given a seed and a cartridge of soil, which was to be placed in mirror towers all over the stage floor. Those cartridges will be taken to Deodoro and form what will be called the Athletes’ Forest.

There’s 207 species of trees being planted, one for each delegation at the games. It’s all part of a massive sustainability and environmental awareness effort at these Olympics.


10:35 p.m.

For many nations, the Olympics are a regular occurrence.

For Kosovo and South Sudan, this is a first.

They marched into the opening ceremony of an Olympics for the first time Friday night, making their debut at the Rio Games. Kosovo was officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee in 2014; South Sudan was recognized last year.

Kosovo’s flag was carried by judo athlete Majlinda Kelmendi, who competed for Albania at the London Games four years ago. Kelmendi won a world title while competing in Rio in 2013.

After entering the stadium, Kelmendi said “it is a historical moment for my country and for me. It is very motivating for me.”

Kosovo sent eight athletes to Rio. South Sudan, which had marathoner Guor Marial carry its flag, has a three-athlete team. Marial competed in London as an independent athlete.


10:30 p.m.

A smaller Russian team has arrived at the opening ceremony.

A state-sponsored doping program led to the exclusion of many would-be Olympians in Rio and threatens the medals that Russia won in recent past Olympics.

The World Anti-Doping Agency recommended Russia’s exclusion from the Olympics, but the International Olympic Committee didn’t go along. The IOC asked individual sports federations to review doping histories of Russian athletes, and less than 24 hours before the opening ceremony, the IOC was finalizing the list of eligible Russian athletes.


10:20 p.m.

Tony Parker is making no effort to hide how much he’s enjoying this opening ceremony.

The San Antonio Spurs star – and French point guard at the Rio Games – says the Olympics are “one of the greatest and biggest sports events in the world.”

On the floor of Maracana Stadium after the French walked into the opening Friday night, Parker said it was “just an unbelievable feeling to be able to be here to represent my country.”

Parker is one of 46 active NBA players in these games.


10:15 p.m.

Which countries are getting the warmest reception during the parade of nations?

Latin countries, Italy, France, Japan and the United States got the biggest cheer from the crowd at Maracana Stadium at the opening ceremony of the Rio Games.

Colombia is a neighboring country with plenty of supporters in Rio. Italy and Japan are two of the biggest communities that immigrated to Brazil. The American team also has a lot of support. Spain, Mexico and South Africa also got a big cheer from the crowd.

Argentina, Brazil’s eternal rivals in soccer, got a mixed reaction.

Of course, the loudest cheer will be saved for last – when Brazil enters.


10:05 p.m.

Jamaica is at the opening ceremony. Usain Bolt is not.

The two-time defending champion in the Olympic 100- and 200-meter races, as expected, skipped the opening ceremony for the Rio Games on Friday night. Bolt announced his decision earlier in the day.

Friday was the fourth anniversary of Bolt winning the gold in the 100 at the London Games.


9:51 p.m.

Archer Zahra Nemati had a big smile and a wave for the crowd as she carried Iran’s flag into the opening ceremony in her wheelchair.

Nemati is competing at the Olympics and Paralympics, where she’s a defending gold medalist.

She was a black belt in taekwondo before a car accident paralyzed her as a teenager. She picked up archery a few years later because she wanted to compete in a sport.

Earlier Friday, she competed in archery’s qualifying round at the Sambadrome. She shot 72 arrows and accumulated a score of 609 – good enough for 49th position.

She’s competing to “make my family and the people around me happy, and let them know I’m OK and I’m strong.”


9:45 p.m.

Andy Murray has Olympic gold, two Wimbledon titles, a U.S. Open crown and is currently the No. 2 player in the world.

But even for someone with his resume, Friday night stood out.

Murray was the flagbearer for Britain at the opening ceremony for the Rio Games, and says it will go down as “the proudest moment of my professional career.”

Murray will play both singles and doubles in Rio, the latter alongside his brother Jamie.

Murray says he’s been blown away by the flagbearer title, noting that “it doesn’t get much bigger than a chance to lead out your country.”

The British team got a big ovation from the crowd in Rio, as did the French team when it entered moments earlier. French President Francois Hollande was in the crowd, cheering for his nation’s athletes as they walked past.


9:35 p.m.

After 18 gold medals and 22 medals overall in his storied Olympic career, Michael Phelps has finally entered an opening ceremony.

The flagbearer for the U.S. has led the contingent of red, white and blue-clad American athletes into Maracana Stadium, after being picked for that distinction earlier this week.

More than 500 Americans are on the Olympic team, though as was the case with Phelps in past years, not all of them marched in the opening. Phelps’ competition schedule kept him from attending the first four openings of his Olympic career, and many athletes from around the world – if they’re competing on Saturday – tend to pass on the ceremony.

The U.S. women’s soccer team wasn’t at the stadium because of their schedule and how far they are from the opening, but planned on having their own private ceremony of sorts. Players were set to wear their ceremony uniforms and essentially pretend marching, as if they were in Rio.

Athletes spend hours on their feet at the opening and often get to their beds well past midnight, not exactly the best situation for athletes looking to perform their best a day later.

Phelps said in the days leading up to the opening that he wants to “take it all in, represent America in the best possible way and make my family proud. This time around, it’s about so much more than medals.”

9:20 p.m.

Given the water woes leading up to the Rio Games, sailing has had more than its share of problems going into these Olympics.

But at the opening ceremony, some of the sport’s best will be on display – no woes to be found.

There’s 13 flagbearers at the opening ceremony from sailing, which is more than the sport had at the Beijing Games and the London Games combined.

They are Sofia Bekatorou of Greece, Nicole Van der Velden of Aruba, Pavlos Kontides of Cyprus, Karl Martin Rammo of Estonia, Tuuli Petaja-Siren of Finland, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke of New Zealand, Vasilij Zbogar of Slovenia, Gintare Scheidt of Lithuania (the wife of popular Brazilian sailing star Robert Scheidt), Joao Rodrigues of Portugal, Rodney Govinden of Seychelles, Dolores Moreira of Uruguay and Cy Thompson of the U.S. Virgin Islands.


9:10 p.m.

President Barack Obama says the Olympic Games build a sense of “common humanity” as countries pursue the ideal of sending their best to compete “in a spirit of goodwill.”

Obama spoke to NBC ahead of the opening of the Rio Games.

The president says people know that the Olympic Games are not going to end war, eliminate poverty or stop the tragedies that occur daily around the world. Yet, he says, the Games contribute to a “sense of empathy.”

Obama says coverage of the events also tells stories of individual athletes working hard to achieve a high level of competition. He says telling such stories “transports you into another place.”


9 p.m.

Germany was one of the first teams to enter the opening ceremony, much to the delight of one fan in particular.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach – a 1976 gold medalist in fencing for his native country – stood and waved with both hands as the Germans walked into Maracana Stadium.

Smiling broadly throughout, Bach remained standing until the entire contingent was inside the stadium.

These are the first summer games Bach has presided over. He became IOC president in 2013.

8:50 p.m.

The parade of nations has started, and as always Greece is leading off. Two-time Olympic sailing medalist Sofia Bekatorou is the flagbearer.

Though most nations at an Olympic Games enter the opening ceremony in alphabetical order, there are exceptions. Greece goes first given its role as the birthplace of the Olympics. The host nation enters last, meaning Brazil will be waiting until the end of the parade to make its grand entrance. (In 2004, when Athens hosted the Olympics, the Greek athlete delegation entered last as well).

Another quirk for the opening is that the local language is used to alphabetize, meaning Portuguese this year.

So the United States of America – 198th in English alphabetical order out of the 207 participating teams – will enter 69th, since in Brazil the country’s name translates to Estados Unidos da America.

If form from past games holds true, the parade of athletes should take slightly less than two hours.


8:45 p.m.

Brazil’s long, proud musical history is on full display in this high-energy start to the opening ceremony for the Rio Games.

From funk to samba to hip-hop, it’s all being featured as the opening builds toward the entrance of athletes from around the world. Among the featured artists: Ludmilla, Cristian Do Passinho, Lelezinha, Elza Soares, Marcelo D2 and Karol Conka.

Video screens around Maracana Stadium are showing some of the lyrics, mostly in Portuguese, as fireworks go off and dancers clad in huge multi-colored wigs and red, yellow, white and orange outfits perform on the stadium floor.


8:35 p.m.

It’s been a source of long debate in Brazil about who invented the airplane.

Most people say the Wright Brothers.

In Brazil, they say Alberto Santos Dumont is the inventor – and that the Wright Brothers actually invented a “jumping machine.” To pay homage to Dumont, a small plane appeared in the stadium during the portion of the opening ceremony that showed where Brazil began modernizing.

The plane’s appearance only lasted for a few seconds.

The next big part of the show got much bigger cheers – that being Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen from one end of the stadium floor to another in a shimmering gown.

As she walked, “The Girl From Ipanema” blared through the stadium.


8:25 p.m.

President Barack Obama says he’s ready to cheer on the U.S. Olympians.

In a tweet on Friday night, not long after the opening ceremony started in Rio de Janeiro, the nation’s first fan wrote “Our team’s unity and diversity makes us so proud – and reminds the world why America sets the gold standard.”


8:20 p.m.

All Olympic opening ceremonies tend to pay homage to the host country’s past, and this one is no different.

An image of a Pau-Brasil tree – the wood that gave its name to the country – digitally appeared on the floor of Maracana Stadium a few minutes into the start of Friday night’s opening ceremony for the Rio Games, as if in the Amazon rainforest.

It’s the country’s national tree, has been on the list of threatened Brazilian plants and it’s illegal to cut the few trees that remain.

Brazil was thick forest when first inhabited more than 500 years ago, and organizers thought that was the logical place to begin the ceremony.

Even some of the most subtle things at the opening have a meaning. The curved shape of the stages used in the ceremony are a nod to Oscar Niemeyer, a key figure in Brazilian architecture.


8:10 p.m.

The unofficial anthem of Rio de Janeiro is being featured prominently as the opening ceremony gets underway.

The song “Aquele Abraco” – which translates to “That Hug” – by Grammy winner Gilberto Gil played a role in both the closing ceremony of the London Games four years ago and in Brazil’s bid for these Rio Games.

The song was the soundtrack for the opening video, which started precisely at 8 p.m. in Rio.

Gil is credited for helping revolutionize Brazilian music in the 1960s. He wrote Aquele Abraco not as a celebration piece, but as his farewell to Rio. He was jailed in 1968 after angering Brazil’s military dictatorship and lived in exile in London from 1969 through 1972.

The first line of the song : “Rio de Janeiro is still beautiful.”

From there, fireworks blasted from the top of the stadium and the Brazilian national anthem quickly followed. Among the most generally cited lyrics to the song are these: “Giant by thine own nature, thou art beautiful, thou art strong.”

The official Brazilian flag has been hoisted by Rio de Janeiro’s Environmental Police Command. Protecting and sustaining Brazil’s environment will be a theme of the opening, and will continue throughout the games.

8 p.m.

The opening ceremony did not mean a warm reception for everyone.

As Brazilian government officials took their seats, a smattering of boos could be heard in Maracana Stadium. It could be expected, given the political times in Brazil right now.

Many residents are upset over how much money was spent on these games, saying it could have been better-directed toward Brazilian needs. Interim President Michel Temer took over following the suspension in May of President Dilma Rousseff on impeachment charges.

And the booing didn’t last long – when the show started, the crowd roared in delight.


7:35 p.m.

Long lines are still outside Maracana Stadium, waiting to get through the copious team of security and into their seats for the opening ceremony.

But inside, the pre-show is underway.

Brazilian entertainer and television personality Regina Case is on the stadium floor, teaching fans in the stadium certain roles they will play in the show. Case says that 60,000 fans will be in the stadium, but she reminded the crowd that 3 billion will be watching on television worldwide.

Case told the crowd, “Here in Brazil, we like to party … and we believe the people are made to shine.” And she reminded the crowd that they are “the stars of this show” as the lights of the stadium dimmed and the only illumination was coming from the lights of thousands of fans’ cell phones.

Outside, military vehicles, police and 35 checkpoints filled the streets near the stadium. Their presence created long lines and traffic jams.

Neither Brazil’s Defense Ministry nor Rio de Janeiro police will say how many security personnel are on the ground to secure the Olympic opening ceremony. As many as 85,000 will be on site until the end of the games. That’s twice as many as London four years ago. More would have been on the ground if Rio wasn’t forced to cut about $550 million from the Olympic budget amid a recession.


6:55 p.m.

Most of the nations marching in Friday’s opening ceremony for the Rio Games will not have a head of state in Maracana Stadium to help cheer their arrival.

Officials had predicted as many as 100 heads of state would attend the first Olympics in South America. But that fell way flat, with about 25 expected to attend Friday night – in large part because of very uncertain political times in Brazil.

For now, the country essentially has two presidents. Interim President Michel Temer took over following the suspension in May of President Dilma Rousseff on impeachment charges.

Among those who are coming: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.


6:30 p.m.

Fans are filing into Maracana Stadium, as the opening ceremony for the Rio Games gets set to begin later Friday night.

Once considered the biggest stadium in the world with a capacity of nearly 200,000, Maracana Stadium now holds around 80,000 people.

Opened in 1950 for the World Cup, in which Uruguay beat the hosts 2-1 in the final, the stadium has been renovated many times over the years. Pele scored the 1,000th goal of his career there in 1969, and the field has been the site for countless major soccer matches at many levels.

Frank Sinatra, Tina Turner and Paul McCartney all played there in the 1980s to massive crowds of about 180,000. KISS, Sting, Madonna, Pearl Jam, the Rolling Stones and Prince are among the many other performers to grace Maracana’s stage.

The stadium was the site of the 2014 World Cup final. Germany topped Argentina 1-0 for the title.

The closing ceremony is at the stadium as well, as are the opening and closing events of the Paralympics.

6 p.m.

A bad virus couldn’t keep Alice Ingley of Australia from shooting arrows.

Ingley spent part of Thursday morning in a clinic with the virus. On Friday, she finished 58th in archery’s qualifying round at the Rio Olympics.

Not bad for eating only some crackers and nibbling on a piece of toast.

Ingley said she knew she would make it to qualifying, but just didn’t know how many arrows she would be able to shoot. Ingley ended up shooting all 72 arrows in the qualifying round.

But she will stay away from teammates for one more night just so they don’t catch anything from her.

A member of the Australian women’s water polo team was in isolation a few days ago after being stricken with a gastrointestinal virus.


5:45 p.m.

The CEO of the Russian Cycling Federation says three of the country’s cyclists have been cleared to race at the Olympics after appealing their exclusion over doping.

The three had been barred from competing under International Olympic Committee rules on Russia because they previously had been banned for doping. But that IOC rule was declared “unenforceable” by a sports arbitration panel Thursday.

Even though the three Russian cyclists have been allowed to race, only two-time road racing medalist Olga Zabelinskaya appears likely to compete.

Tour de France stage winner Ilnur Zakarin cannot race due to “a confluence of circumstances,” federation CEO Yuri Kucheryavy tells The Associated Press in text messages.

Another rider, track cyclist Sergei Shilov, could be out because three of his teammates in the pursuit are facing exclusion on different doping-related allegations.


5:30 p.m.

The competing was the easy part for three Russian archers in comparison to waiting to see if they would even be allowed at the Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee recently approved the entry of 271 Russian athletes amid several anti-doping groups calling for a complete ban.

Overall, more than 100 Russians have been excluded, including 67 in track and field, over allegations of state-sponsored doping in Russia ahead of the Rio Games.

“Of course, there were some worries,” Russian archer Ksenia Perova said through a translator Friday after the women’s qualifying round at the Sambadrome. “But they (decision makers) believe in common sense.”

Tuiana Dashidorzhieva led the way for the Russians in qualifying by finishing fifth. Inna Stepanova was 16th and Perova wound up 17th.


5:05 p.m.

Hours before the opening ceremony, the Greek Olympic committee has announced the first positive doping test of the Rio Games.

The committee says an unnamed member of the Olympic team failed a doping test in July in Athens. The Greeks say the athlete has left the Olympic Village.

Dozens of athletes have failed doping tests at the last two Olympics, most caught in recent retests of stored samples. The IOC stores doping samples for 10 years so they can be retested when new methods become available, meaning drug cheats who escaped detection at the time can be caught years later.


4:30 p.m.

The Olympic torch relay has reached the end of its protest-disrupted journey to Rio de Janeiro.

The relay that began with a ceremonial lighting in Ancient Olympia, Greece, in April ended in Rio’s Flamingo district on Friday afternoon.

The flame will next be used to light the cauldron in the Maracana Stadium in Friday’s night’s opening ceremony.

There was a late detour for the torch on Friday, with protests and heavy crowds forcing organizers to shift the relay away from part of the famed Copacabana beach before it headed to Sugar Loaf Mountain.


4:25 p.m.

They’re cutting it very close at Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic sailing venue.

A temporary ramp to launch boats at Rio’s Marina da Gloria collapsed a week ago and, with sailing opening on Monday, it’s still not fixed. Organizers said it would be ready on Friday, but that won’t happen.

Darryl Seibel, a spokesman for the governing body of world sailing, says good progress is being made and the body is “increasingly optimistic.”

Rio’s Olympic sailing event has drawn unwanted attention because of severe water pollution in the Guanabara Bay venue. Rio treats about half of its waste, dumping the rest into its bacteria- and virus-filled waters.

Seibel says the temporary ramp should be finished over the weekend. If it’s not, all the boats must be launched from one permanent concrete ramp.

Seibel says “we could operate with only one, although that’s far from ideal, and it’s not what we’re expecting to do.”


3:40 p.m.

Want to watch the opening ceremony in the United States when it kicks off in Rio? You’ll have to wait at least an hour.

NBC won’t begin telecasting the festivities until an hour after they begin in Rio on Friday night. The tape-delayed telecast will be four hours after the fact out West.

NBC also won’t be streaming the event through its app or Olympics website until the television coverage begins, and streamers need to authenticate their account with a cable or satellite service.

The network usually plays a cat-and-mouse game to prevent other websites from streaming the event. It remains to be seen how successful it will be.

The ceremony is expected to be filled with Brazil’s native samba music, with appearances by Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, along with model Gisele Bundchen. Legendary soccer star Pele said Friday that he would not be attending due to ill health.


3:20 p.m.

Suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff says she’s sad to be missing out on the Olympics festivities as Rio gears up to Friday night’s opening ceremony.

Rousseff will be watching from the presidential palace in Brasilia, where she’s been holed up since being suspended in May on impeachment charges. She says on Twitter that she’ll still be rooting for Brazil even if she can’t attend in person.

Her predecessor and mentor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who led the Brazilian efforts to bring the first Olympics to South America, said he’s not even planning to watch it. His spokesman Jose Chrispiniano said the former president will instead be at a rally of his Workers’ Party in his hometown in the greater Sao Paulo area.

The honor of kicking off the games will instead go to interim President Michel Temer, who said he expects to be loudly booed at Maracana stadium.

In 2009, before the largely unknown Rousseff ran her first campaign, she was one of the 50,000 people celebrating on Copacabana beach after Rio beat Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago to host the event.


2:45 p.m.

Chris Brooks’ remarkable resurgence will reach its peak on Saturday when the captain of the U.S. men’s gymnastics team competes in the all-around.

The 29-year-old Brooks, a first-time Olympian, will do all six events for the Americans as they try to earn a spot in Monday’s eight-team final. Four-time national champion Sam Mikulak will also do the all-around for the U.S. as it hopes to return to the podium after fading during the finals in 2012.

Alex Naddour will do floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings and vault. Jake Dalton will do floor exercise, still rings, vault, parallel bars and high bar while 2012 all-around bronze medalist Danell Leyva will compete on pommel horse, parallel bars and high bar.

Each country will put four men in each event during qualifying, with the lowest score being dropped. The format changes up to three-up, three-count for the final on Monday.


2:20 p.m.

Leaders of countries who are in Brazil to promote bids for the 2024 Games discussed terrorism threats Friday ahead of Rio’s opening ceremony.

French President Francois Hollande says Paris and other cities bidding to host future Olympics need to be able to protect themselves, and Hollande says France has experience in organizing and protecting major events. More than 200 people have died in France in the last 18 months in terror attacks, but Hollande said these were not attacks on major organized events like the European Championship soccer tournament, which was held around France in June and July.

Italian Premier Matteo Renzi says holding the Olympics in Rome would be an answer to terrorists trying to cower people into a “life of fear.”

Speaking in an interview with two international news agencies, including The Associated Press, Renzi said that if the terrorists “hate music, we will invest more money in music. If they hate soccer or other sports, we believe this is our identity.”

Paris and Rome are bid rivals for the 2024 Games along with Los Angeles.


1:55 p.m.

Protests and large crowds have forced the Olympic torch relay away from Copacabana.

The torch relay was due to pass by Rio de Janeiro’s famed beach ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony.

Earlier, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon ran with the torch by Ipanema beach after receiving it from International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.

The flame will be used to light the Olympic cauldron Friday night at the Maracana Stadium.


1:25 p.m.

Pele says his poor health will prevent him from participating in the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics.

In a statement on Friday, Pele says “I’m not physically able to attend the opening of the Olympics.”

Friday’s opening ceremony will need to fill a void without Brazil’s most famous athlete. He had hip surgery several years ago and often walks with the help of a cane.

Pele says in his statement that “only God is more important than my health. In my life, I’ve had fractures, surgeries, pain, hospital stays, victories and defeats. And I’ve always respected those who admire me.”

He says it was “my own decision.”

Pele apologized for disappointing Brazilians and says “as a Brazilian, I ask God to bless all who participate in this event.”

He signed the statement Edson Arantes do Nascimento – Pele.


Corrects item to reflect that Pele did not directly address Olympic cauldron in his statement.


1:10 p.m.

The world rowing federation has cleared a previously banned Russian rower from competing in the Olympics but says Russia has decided to leave him at home anyway.

Ivan Podshivalov, who received a two-year doping ban in 2008, got a last-minute go-ahead to compete in Rio after a sports arbitration panel rejected a rule barring Russian athletes with prior doping sanctions from competing in the games.

However, world rowing federation FISA said Friday that with the Olympics about to start the Russian rowing federation had decided to stick to its lineup in the men’s four and leave Podshivalov in Moscow.

FISA upheld the ban of another Russian rower who had been suspended in 2008, Anastasia Karabelshikova, saying she didn’t meet the criteria for competing in the games.


12:30 p.m.

Kim Woojin of South Korea set a recurve world record with a score of 700 during the qualifying round of archery at the Rio Olympics.

The 24-year-old Kim beat the previous mark of 699 for 72 arrows set by Im Dong-Hyun at the 2012 London Games.

A perfect score is 720 as archers shoot at total of 72 arrows over 12 rounds. The results of Friday’s qualifying round are used to determine seeding for the final in the rounds next week.

American Brady Ellison was second with a score of 690 and David Pasqualucci of Italy wound up third with 685. Brazilian and medal favorite Marcus D’Almeida wound up 34th in qualifying.


11 a.m.

Brazilian police say they have jailed a Moroccan Olympic boxer on allegations he sexually assaulted two Brazilian women.

In a statement, police say they arrested boxer Hassan Saada Friday for possible assaults on two Brazilian women who worked as waitresses in the Olympic Village.

According to the statement, the attacks happened on Wednesday. No other details were given.

Police say Saada will be jailed for a period of 15 days while they conduct a rape investigation. Under Brazilian law, suspects can be held for a long period of time while a case is examined.

He was due to compete Saturday. A light heavyweight boxer, he was set to fight Mehmet Nadir of Turkey in the preliminary rounds Saturday at 12:30 p.m. He was not predicted to be a medal contender.


8:20 a.m.

The Olympic flame has hit Rio’s most famous landmark, the Christ the Redeemer statue.

Brazil Olympian Isabel Barroso Salgado was emotional as she stood beneath the 125-foot statue (38 meters, 30 centimeters), holding the torch straight above her head with both arms outstretched.

The volleyball medalist from Brazil then received a blessing as cameras snapped all around.

The iconic wonder is one of many stops for the flame as it travels around Rio de Janeiro at the end of a long relay that began in Greece. Torch runners carried the flame through Copacabana early Friday.

The flame will be used to light the Olympic cauldron Friday night at the opening ceremony at Maracana Stadium.


6:25 a.m.

As the Olympic torch makes its way through Rio de Janeiro, the big question is: Will Pele show up?

The former soccer star – Brazil’s most famous athlete – said this week he was invited to take part in the opening ceremonies for the 2016 Summer Olympics, but business deals were stopping him from doing it.

Millions of television viewers from around the world are expected to watch the three-hour ceremony in Rio de Janeiro on Friday night, which culminates in the lighting of the Olympic cauldron.

American sculptor Anthony Howe told The Associated Press that his cauldron design was inspired by life in the tropics. There will be two cauldrons in Rio, one at the Maracana soccer stadium that is hosting the opening ceremony and another open to the public in downtown Rio.

Howe says the cauldron in central Rio will be lit by a runner after the opening ceremony ends.


6 a.m.

There’s going to be no shortage of samba, culture or diversity in the opening ceremony for the 2016 Summer Olympics as Brazil proudly showcases its traditions and environmental wonders.

Millions of television viewers from around the world are expected to watch the three-hour ceremony in Rio de Janeiro on Friday night, which comes as the country is reeling from political and economic turmoil.

Organizers are making sure that global warming and the environment, especially the country’s magnificent Amazon rainforest, are important parts of the ceremony.

In all, 4,800 performers and volunteers will be involved in the show at Rio’s Maracana stadium. NBC will broadcast the opening ceremony on a one-hour tape delay because it wants the extravaganza to be shown completely in U.S. prime time.

Samba and pop music singers are expected to perform, including Grammy award winners Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen will also be on hand to promote her native Brazil. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s