Rio Olympics Opens with Cultural and Environmental Themes

October 11, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. pared-down / pɛədˈdaʊn / (adj.) – in its simplest form
Example: Budget cuts led to a simpler, more pared-down celebration.

2. spirit / ˈspɪr ɪt / (n.) – a characteristic or feature related to one’s identity
Example: The event showcased the company’s fun-loving spirit by having lots of games.

3. exude / ɪgˈzud / (v.) – to show
Example: The athlete exuded confidence before the game started. 

4. futuristic / ˌfyu tʃəˈrɪs tɪk / (adj.) – advanced
Example: The futuristic painting was presented by the artist.

5. cameo / ˈkæm iˌoʊ / (n.) – a brief appearance
Example: The veteran actor had a cameo in the newest superhero movie.


Read the text below.
Rio de Janeiro opened the 2016 Summer Olympics with a pared-down ceremony that had three themes: climate change, unity in diversity, and the joyous Brazilian spirit.

Conceptualized by a team led by famous Brazilian filmmakers, the opening ceremonies featured several performers, including a supermodel and various musical artists. Compared to other opening ceremonies, it was much simpler due to budget cuts made by the government.

The ceremonies’ central theme was its stand against climate change. This was shown through the lighting of an eco-friendly cauldron. The cauldron was specifically designed to emit low emissions. In addition, each athlete received a seed that will be planted in one of the competition venues, which will be called Athletes’ Forest.

The second theme, unity in diversity, showcased Brazil’s racial diversity. The ceremonies paid tribute to the country’s multiculturalism by showing the history of some of the country’s immigrants. In addition, the ceremonies featured local artists from different walks of life and of different ethnicities.

Joy was the last theme presented during the event. The ceremonies exuded the warmth and friendliness of Brazilians through fun-filled and colorful performances. The wide range of musical performances, from samba to rap, showcased the variety of Brazil’s music scene.

If the opening ceremonies touched upon the past, the closing ceremonies, on the other hand, showed a futuristic preview of the 2020 Olympics to be held in Tokyo. After the Olympic flag was passed from Rio de Janeiro to Tokyo, Japan’s presentation commenced with a cultural video tour of the city. The presentation ended with a surprise cameo from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who came to the event dressed as Super Mario.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         If you could conceptualize the opening ceremonies for your country, what themes would you choose? State your reasons.
·         Which influential people would you feature in your country’s opening ceremonies? Why?

Discussion B

·         In what ways can hosting the Olympics impact a country? Discuss.
·         How can countries maintain a reasonable budget when hosting the Olympics? 

October 11, 2016