Excitement peaks in Rio as Games open

Celebrations kick off after the opening ceremony of Brazil’s first ever Olympic Games. Natasha Howitt reports.

(Reuters)- Excitement is at a peak in Rio de Janeiro as the Olympic Games kick off with a bang.

Many are hoping the opening ceremony will turn the page on months of bad publicity — from corruption scandals, to worries over crime and the Zika virus.

Of the tens of thousands leaving the stadium, the mood was certainly positive…

(SOUNDBITE) (English) 24-YEAR-OLD U.S. TOURIST, CLAYTON ATCHISON, SAYING:

“I want to give it out to the people from Rio, because there are so much controversy about whether or not they could put out a show like this they just put on, and they did it.”

(SOUNDBITE) (English) SERGEO, BRAZILIAN TOURIST, SAYING:

“It was amazing, and I think Brazil is completely in a good moment for the Olympics, and I hope it will have a wonderful Games.”

The show was simple and low-tech, a reflection of Brazil’s tough economic times.

It celebrated Brazil’s culture, with an emphasis on the city’s favelas.

“All of Brazil was represented in there”, this man says. “It was really wonderful”.

After the show, the party continued downtown, where hundreds of spectators had been watching the ceremony on jumbo screens.

For the first time, the Olympic torch was brought out of the stadium.

The flame will burn here for the duration of the Games – making it accessible to a greater number of people.

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