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Rio 2016 Olympics Opening Ceremonies: How to Watch and Open Thread

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It may be a mess, but it’s still a spectacle.

Let’s do this thing.
Let’s do this thing.
Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

It’s strange in a way; this summer has seemingly been a bit of a slow burn as far as the lead-up to the 2016 Olympic Games. Perhaps it’s a result of all the horrible stories coming from Rio; the bad water, the crime rate, the latest mosquito-born pandemic. Whatever the case, although it wouldn’t be accurate to say there’s no anticipation for these Olympics, it does sort of feel like they’ve snuck up on us.

But that’s all done and dusted now. We’ve already had a couple of days worth of preliminary competitions, and tonight the gala really kicks off with the opening ceremonies.

What: The Opening Ceremonies of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad.

Where: Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

When: April 5, 2016, 6pm CT

Television: One-hour tape delay, starting at 7pm CT, on your local NBC (or Telemundo if you’re into that sort of thing) affiliate. Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, and Hoda Kotb will call the action on NBC, with Bob Costas directing traffic from the studio. If you’re lucky enough to be within hailing distance of the Canadian border, you can actually watch live on CBC. Note that we’re opening this thread in time for the actual ceremony, and we are perfectly okay with those of you watching live posting spoilers.

Streaming: Via the NBC Olympics website. Viewers may watch up to a half-hour without any effort, but after that window the website will require a login via your television provider. The NBCSports app (available on iOS, Android, Windows phone, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, Roku, and Apple TV) will also provide content, but will require that login from the outset.

After tonight: NBC will offer its usual fare, mostly tape-delayed so they can slather it with narrative. Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, USA, and NBCSN will also carry live events; NBC has all the details.

Neat stuff to know: As with every Olympic Games, there are things which are different from the last time. Here’s a short(ish) summary:

  • Seemingly every Olympics, there are some athletes competing under the Olympic flag. This time out, 10 athletes, refugees from 4 countries — South Sudan, Syria, Egypt, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- will participate under the five rings. Originally, this option was also going to be available to Russian track and field athletes who were proven to be clean in the wake of the Russian doping scandal; instead, only one Russian track athlete (long jumper Darya Klishina) will be competing, and will be allowed to do so under the Russian flag despite the Russian team’s suspension.
  • Every one of the 206 IOC members will have at least one athlete competing in something — except for Kuwait, suspended due to governmental interference with the nation’s Olympic committee. For the first time, Kosovo and South Sudan will be represented in the Parade of Nations and in competiton.
  • If you’re expecting to be able to tune in to the Opening Ceremonies late to see Team USA march, better change your plans. Because the Parade of Nations is organized alphabetically by the host country’s language, the Americans will be relatively early in the program, as in Portuguese our great nation is known as “Estados Unidos da America”.
  • Two new sports grace the program this Olympiad, as golf and rugby sevens join the party.
  • Who’s going to finish the torch relay? We know who it won’t be: the legendary Pelé announced that due to ill health he wouldn’t even be attending the opening ceremony. Odds appear to be that it will be three-time French Open winner Gustavo Kuerten, but we’ll just have to see, won’t we?

So, the stage is set. It’s time for our quadrennial obsession to once again commence. Join us for the fun!