Let the games begin

      I’m not the biggest sports fan in the world, but as the world turns its attention to sports every four years during the Olympic ceremonies, I’m glued to my television just like everybody else. The Olympic games are a great diversion from all the horror happening in the world. For a couple of weeks these games give us something positive and uplifting to focus on.

     In keeping with the tradition of mammoth productions, the opening ceremonies of the 31st Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro were certainly entertaining. Probably more entertaining if you’re from the country hosting the event. I did learn some things about the history of Brazil I didn’t know before. The claims of aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-DuMont being the first person to achieve mechanical flight before our own Wright Brothers seemed a little sketchy. But the ariel montage re-creation of his flight over the country’s landmarks was beautiful to experience.

     Each segment of the opening ceremony was a spectacle to behold, even if I didn’t always know exactly what I was beholding. The ariel view of dancers in reflective tin-foil suits forming designs on the stage that represented an eye of a hurricane (I’m guessing) was oddly hypnotic. The fluorescent green laser light show put on by the descendants of the indigenous natives of the rainforest was primitive yet futuristic at the same time. A multitude of musical numbers showcased all of Brazil’s diversity featuring rap, classical and everything in-between.

     Apparently in Rio, the party never stops. The only thing missing was a dancing Rob Gronkowski. Instead viewers were treated to the next best thing. Perfectly sandwiched between a MacDonald’s commercial and an ad for a Disney movie, was the highlight of the night. It began with the soft piano key’s of Tom Jobim’s grandson, Daniel, playing his grandfather’s famous song: Tall and tan and young and lovely/ The girl from Ipanema goes walking/ And when she passes, each one she passes goes, “Hey isn’t that Tom Brady’s wife?” Giselle regally paraded the mile-long catwalk using all her modeling skills to command the stage in a sparkling golden gown, doing what she does best, looking beautiful in the spotlight.

      Fast forward to the parade of nations. Thanks to the order of Brazil’s Portuguese-language alphabet, we didn’t have to wait until the U’s to catch a glimpse the USA procession. The members of the Estados Unidos team proudly followed 18-time gold medalist Michael Phelps as he carried the American flag.

     The young American athletes enjoyed the limelight as they waved at the cameras and recorded the moments on their cell phones. Team America looked great in their red, white and blue outfits. Their navy blazers featured a prominently displayed image of Ralph Lauren’s iconic Polo logo embroidered in white, a perfect complement to all of the marching rows of perfectly white teeth on display. How do those athletes do it? I’m guessing Professional-Strength Crest Whitestrips

     For sixteen days viewers around the globe will get to witness 300 events in 35 different sports performed by the top athletes in their field. The background stories of these athletes will inspire us all to new heights of personal best. For the next two weeks our national pride will take precedence over picking potential presidents. We can forget about the Zika Virus and terrorism and focus on something life-affirming. It’s almost worth Days Of Our Lives being pre-empted for two weeks. Almost.


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