Pele to Star at Rio de Janeiro Olympics Opening Ceremony

04 August 2016 11:08am

The Brazilian football legend's 'brand name' is owned by a US company but he hopes to be given permission take part in the event in the stadium where he scored his 1,000th goal.

Pele is set to star at the Olympics opening ceremony alongside British actress Judi Dench – as long as he gets permission from his sponsors.

The football legend has been invited to light the Olympic pyre for the Rio 2016 Games - one of the greatest honors at the opening to the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’.

But the 75-year-old star must get his sponsors to agree before he is free to lead the torch ceremony in the world famous Maracana stadium.

Pele said: “I have a contract that I am bound to fulfil. As a Brazilian, I would love to do it.”

He had previously agreed to attend another event at the games and they will have the last word on whether he can take up the invitation from the Olympic organizing committee.

Pele helped his country win the World Cup three times and would be launching the games in the stadium where he scored his 1,000th goal in 1969.

He would be one of the stars of the show alongside supermodel Gisele Bundchen – coming out of retirement to appear – and Dame Judi.

The veteran star has been chosen to play a key role and will be one of only a few non-Brazilian performers expected to be take part in the four-hour Games curtain-raiser seen by billions of people worldwide.

The Oscar-winning actress will read a poem by the Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade during a section of the ceremony dedicated to Brazil’s natural environment.

Along with the Oscar-nominated Brazilian actress Fernanda Montenegro, 86, Dame Judi will read the classic A Flor e a Náusea (Flower and Nausea) about a flower growing in the cracked asphalt of a heavily-polluted city.

Dame Judi’s former 007 co-star Daniel Craig was part of the stand-out moment of the London 2012 Opening Ceremony when, as James Bond, he flew with the Queen to the Olympic Stadium in east London before they both appeared to parachute out of a helicopter.

It will include references to Brazil’s history of slavery and its colonial past, while the 80,000-strong audience will be asked to imitate monkeys, macaws and the sound of rain with their fingers during a segment about the Amazon.

Global warming and the melting of the polar icecaps will also be referenced during a ceremony heavy on environmentalism.

All 12,000 athletes taking part will be given seeds to represent a forest of saplings that will be planted after the Games, one for every athlete, as an ‘ecological legacy’.

A model called Lea T will be the first transsexual to play a prominent role in an Olympic Opening Ceremony, while Gisele will be ‘mugged’ as she ‘travels’ across Rio.

Marco Baluch, executive producer, said: “This is not an opulent event given the economic situation in Brazil.

“It does not have the grandiosity of Beijing, the huge special effects of Athens, the eccentricity and technological skills of London.”

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The procession of athletes will feature some, but not all of Team GB. Many track and field athletes will still be at their training camp in Belo Horizonte.

Sir Bradley Wiggins, who needs just one more medal to become Britain’s most decorated Olympian, and Nicola Adams, the first British woman boxer to defend an Olympic title, are expected to be in the procession.

After Brazil, the biggest cheer of the night is likely to be for Team Refugee, 10 athletes from Syria, South Sudan and other war-afflicted countries.

Source: The Daily Mirror

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