New Delhi: The XXXI Olympiad is upon us. After years of preparations, Brazil will welcome world's best (read eligible) athletes at Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympics Games.
The Rio Games will officially start with the opening ceremony on Saturday. Here's everything you need to know about the ceremony which promises to be a grand feast of Brazilian culture.
Date and Time: 6 August, 4:30 AM IST. It is expected to last approximately three hours. Note: Indian Standard Time is 8 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Brazil time.
Venue: Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro. It's where the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final was played. It went through major reconstruction projects for the 2014 World Cup and subsequently for the Olympics, and has a capacity of 78,000+.
TV Listing: Star Sports network. Commentary will be available both in Hindi and English.
Live Streaming: starsports.com and hotstar.com
Details of the opening ceremony is still a closely kept secret. But we can give some spoilers here, including the name of the person who will the all-important Olympic flame.
In the Parade of Nations, Greece will enter first, and Indian contingent is listed 95 in the parade order. Ace shooter Abhinav Bindra is the flag bearer for India.
Host Brazil will come last. Mind you, this will be along parade with as many as 207 teams, including the Refugee Olympic Athletes (ROA) which is expected to the draw the loudest cheers, walking through Maracana.
Show Director: Famed Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles, of City of God and The Constant Gardener, has co-directed the opening show, which will have at least 300 professional dancers and 5,000 volunteers in various acts.
Highlights: Traditional Olympic fare like the Parade of the Nations, the Olympic Oath taking, the hoisting of each nation’s flags and the lighting of the Olympic cauldron are the highlights. Yes, there will be speeches from International Olympic Association (IOA) president Thomas Bach.
Star Attractions: Brazil supermodel Gisele Bundchen, often regarded as one of the "sexiest ever". The former Victoria Secret model will perform in an undisclosed act, which will depict the life in Rio de Janeiro. Transgender model Lea T. will also play a role.
Celebrated singer Anitta and other musical gems like Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil would perform during the opening ceremony.
The ceremony will also feature a poetry reading from renowned actors Judi Dench and Fernanda Montenegro.
Besides at least 100 heads of states are expected to attend the ceremony. France president Argentine president Mauricio Macri, French president Francois Hollande, Italian president Matteo Renzi, Dutch king Willem-Alexander and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon are some of dignitaries who have confirmed their presence.
And, football legend Pele will light the cauldron.
An estimated 900 million people worldwide will watch the show on Saturday early morning.