Rio Olympics open in spectacular style

The 2016 Olympic Games are now underway.

Beneath the green and gold embrace of Christ the Redeemer, Vanderlei de Lima lit up the Rio 2016 Olympics at the Maracana Stadium late on Friday night.

Famous for being denied gold in the 2004 Olympic marathon when he was assaulted by a spectator, de Lima might be seen as a metaphor for the International Olympic Committee’s mighty stumble.

A four-hour carnival of Bossa Nova and baille-funk, Gisele Bundchen’s retiring catwalk swagger and a Girl from Ipanema; all succeeded for at least one night in overshadowing the chronic issues afflicting the Olympic movement.

Rio’s ability to put on a carnival was never open to question. But its captivating beat and tropical colour could only partially obscure a precipice as steep as the sides of Sugarloaf Mountain upon which the Games’ very future teeters.

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Rio 2016 Diary: Focus finally shifts to sport

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After all the drama in the build-up to the games, the Olympics will get underway Saturday morning in front of a sold-out 78,000 seater Maracana stadium.

If you’re planning on watching the games over the next two weeks, share with us your thoughts or predictions by using the #360Fans across social media.










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Rio 2016: Mirza can thrive in the Brazilian heat

Jay Asser 5/08/2016
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Flying the flag: Yousif Mirza is competing at his first Games.

UAE cyclist Yousif Mirza hopes his ability to ride in hot temperatures will serve him well in Saturday’s men’s road race.

Mirza will be the first UAE athlete to compete in Rio when he lines up alongside the likes of Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali.

The 27-year-old, who has battled back from a serious motorcycle accident in 2015 to make it to his first Olympics, is sure his experience of riding in the hot climbs of the Middle East will give him an advantage over some of his competitor, which temperatures expected to reach around 30°C Saturday.

He said: “It’s a circuit that’s hard, up and down. I will be training on that course for nine days, which I think is enough. The weather is hot also, similar to our weather. I will be better, because my body has been all the time in that weather.

“In the last 100 kilometres of the race, we’ll go in a circuit with five laps. In that, there’s one big climb. It’ll be a big challenge for all riders, not only me.”

Mirza has spent much of the summer training in Europe alongside some of the riders that will be racing against him in Brazil to gain valuable experience and hone new tactics and techniques. He also cycled with Swiss sprint legend Fabian Cancellara this week.

He added: “I’ve trained some multitude of stages in Europe.

“In Europe, it’s very different. It’s a different level, a high, professional level. That’s what I need to try.

“In Europe, you race with the same riders you’ll race against in the Olympics. That’s good for our technical team.”

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