Rio Olympics 2016: Most Memorable Moments from the Opening Ceremony

Let the games begin! There were plenty of memorable moments at the 2016 Rio Olympics opening ceremony on Friday, August 5, from the shirtless Tongan flag bearer to Gisele Bundchen’s fierce walk down the runway. Here, Us Weekly has rounded up the top seven standout moments from the festive kick-off to the Summer Olympic games!

Pita Nikolas Aufatofua of Tonga
Pita Nikolas Aufatofua of Tonga Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

1. Tongan flag bearer Pita Taufatofua woke up sleepy Olympics viewers when he strode across the screen sans shirt and all oiled up. The 32-year-old taekwondo competitor sparked enthusiastic reactions online and became an instant Internet sensation.

2. Gisele Bundchen made Brazil proud with her fiercest walk down the runway yet, clad in a glittery, silver gown to the classic tune “The Girl From Ipanema.” Later, the supermodel was spotted letting loose and dancing her face off in the crowd.

Team Refugees during the Opening Ceremony 2016 on Olympic Games
Team Refugees during the Opening Ceremony 2016 on Olympic Games Nolwenn Le Gouic/Icon Sport via Getty Images

3. The first-ever Olympics refugee team was greeted with loud cheers and applause as they entered the stadium. The 10-person team is made up of six men and four women who fled their home countries — ranging from Syria, South Sudan, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

4. Neil Patrick Harris’ doppelgänger, Belarus road cyclist Vasil Kiryienka, graced the international stage, and Twitter immediately reacted to seeing the How I Met Your Mother lookalike on TV. “Neil Patrick Harris competing for Belarus, is there anything he can’t do?!?!?” former View host Michelle Collins tweeted.

Rio Olympics Global Warming
A young boy sits next to a seedling as he performs during the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Emmanuel Dunada/AFP/Getty Images

5. Rio demonstrated an Avatar-like allegiance to the rainforest with its theatrical opening ceremony performance, which paid tribute to the country’s indigenous people with dance and movement meant to mimic the trees and water of the Amazon.

6. When Team Bolivia competitor Jose Quintanilla walked into the Maracana stadium with his fellow countrymen, he couldn’t contain his emotions — and the beautiful moment was caught on camera.

Michael Phelps Rio Olympic Opening Ceremony
Michael Phelps during the Rio Olympics opening ceremony. William Volcov/Broadimage

7. Michael Phelps led Team USA into the stadium as the nation’s flag bearer, and his big grin said it all. The swimmer, who holds the record of most Olympic medals of all time, will be competing in his final games this year.

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