Rio prepares for the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Games

(Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO – It’s a big day in Rio de Janeiro as the city prepares for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Games.

Everywhere you turn, security continues to tighten as the Games draw near. Barricades and armed guards line the streets as choppers fly overhead.


Nearly 85,000 security officers have been sent to Rio to protect the thousands of athletes and spectators, but tonight it will be three hours of pure celebration, music and dance, bright colors and faces beaming with pride.

The Olympic Cauldron will be lit, signifying the start of the games.The Olympic torch is now making its way over land and sea, getting closer and closer to the cauldron, where it will light the night on fire.


Fans cheer along the way as the flame winds through Rio ahead of the Games.

Olympic organizers in Rio have chosen a popular favela resident to carry the Olympic torch through Copacabana on Friday. Favelas are shantytowns where more than a quarter of Brazil’s struggling population lives.

David Vieria Bispo owns “Bar Do David”, a popular destination for tourists and locals. His bar, which overlooks Copacabana beach, became a place where both residents from the favela and wealthier neighborhoods came together to share savory appetizers and beer.

Viera’s bar became famous in international travel guides, attracting foreigners from all continents. He said carrying the torch will be a “unique moment” to represent everybody from the favelas.

For the Opening ceremony, the American athletes will show off a preppy, sporty vibe. When the team marches into Maracanã stadium in Rio, they’ll be wearing of course, the red, white and blue from head to toe. Designed by Ralph Lauren, the USOC describes the athletes’ look as fresh, sporty with classic elements.

While some on social media have mocked the athletes’ red, white and blue striped shirts, noting its resemblance to the Russian flag, the patriotic boat shoes are all-American, topping off the look is a smart, navy blazer with gold buttons.

The flagbearer, though, will light up the night.

Michael Phelps is not only lucky enough to carry the stars and stripes, but his blazer will feature electroluminescent panels, lighting up the letters USA. He is the most decorated medalist in Olympics history: 22 medals, 18 of them gold.

On these, his last Olympics, the five-time Olympian has new perspective. He is a new father with a new outlook on life.

Phelps said, "For me to be able to have the opportunity to carry the flag for the United States in the opening ceremony, I mean it’s a dream come true. To lead our country into this Olympics is something that I honestly never thought I would have the opportunity to do.  I think this time around will be a lot more emotional than in past games, or any past swim meet. This has to be one of the coolest things that I have ever done."

Phelps will swim three individual events in Rio, looking to add to that already impressive treasure chest of Olympic gold.