Opening ceremony rehearsal a 'disaster'

Rio 2016 opening ceremony (Getty)
Rio 2016 opening ceremony (Getty)

Rio de Janeiro - The 2016 Olympic Games opening ceremony may have gone off without a hitch, but the 5000 performers involved in the production could be forgiven for going into it with a sense of trepidation. 

You would never have guessed it by looking at the end product, but director Fernando Meirelles has revealed that his team's final rehearsal before the big day was a 'disaster'.

"We had a very bad rehearsal two days ago, our last rehearsal was a disaster – this might be a good thing, everyone is now very aware," Meirelles, who also directed the 2002 film City of God, said before Friday's ceremony.

"We were very relaxed then we had this rehearsal and everything went wrong, so now everybody is very intense."

Meirelles was right. Everybody was on their game and the result was a polished delivery that was made all the more impressive by the budget constraints that event organisers have experienced. 

While much of the ceremony was a celebration, Meirelles also dedicated a significant portion of time to highlighting the problems currently facing Brazil and the world in the form of poverty, discrimination and global warming. 

"They invited me for six months and I kept saying 'no, no, no'. Then I finally decided to join the team just to have this message delivered, especially the one on climate change," he said.

"We are past the risky point, we are already beyond the risky point in terms of the way of being on this planet.

"And this is the best platform you have to tell the whole world, three billion people, and that's what made me join the group."

Meirelles, 60, was born in Sao Paulo.

Lloyd Burnard is Sport24's correspondent in Rio de Janeiro for the duration of the 2016 Olympics ...

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