Rio Opening Ceremony Promises Smiles Throughout

(ATR) Rio 2016 ceremony producer tells Around the Rings working with a smaller budget not an issue.

(ATR) Rio 2016 opening ceremony producer Marco Balich said he was prohibited from divulging the budget for the Aug. 5 extravaganza at Maracana Stadium, but estimated it would be half of what London 2012 spent.

"Budget really is not the issue," Balich told Around the Rings, calling the expenditure "right for Brazil today."

London spent an estimated $41 million on its ceremony that celebrated British history, pop culture and sport.

Balich said it will be a "very emotional ceremony" with meaning, yet won’t gloss over Brazil’s social and economic challenges.

"We are going to deliver a message of the environment and about the future of our planet," he said. "I’m glad that the IOC and Rio sustained this wish to send a strong message of sustainability around the world."

Balich offered few hints about the three-hour ceremony, which will include an hour and 15 minutes for the athletes parade, which will take on the theme of a summer’s day at Ipanema Beach. "There will be a flavor all throughout of a smile."

"There will be some touching moments, within the artistic part but also when the refugee team will come out and when we are going to celebrate the athletes with the biggest display of samba songs ever," Balich said.

A big worry ahead of the opening ceremony is getting everyone with a ticket into the Maracana stadium as quickly and safely as possible.

Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada said the process took longer than expected in the test event and that the public should plan to arrive at least two hours before the ceremony begins at 8 p.m. local time on Friday. The doors will open three and a half hours before the scheduled start. Andrada urged spectators to leave their backpacks at home and go to the Rio 2016 website to find out what items won't be allowed into the stadium.

Adding to the difficulties is that the nearby Maracana rail station is not open to the general public for the event. It has been reserved for Olympic-related traffic. The public will have to walk from two other stations, one requiring a nine minute walk, the other a 15 minute trek.

Written by Bob Mackin and Gerard Farekin Rio de Janeiro

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