All the highlights from the Rio 2016 Paralympic opening ceremony

Maracanã Abertura Paralímpica! The Maracana stadium!! Thank you @rio2016 for this amazing #OpeningCeremony!! #Paralympics #Rio2016

A photo posted by Helena Lima (@helenacordovalimabulcao) on

 

The Paralympic Games opened Wednesday with 4,350 athletes joining together to prove to the world that nothing is impossible.

The Games’ creative directors, Vik Muniz, Fred Gelli and Marcelo Rubens Paiva and artistic director, Paula Mello said they wanted to create a vision of a world in which disabled people are treated with equality and celebrate the idea that “The heart knows no limits; everybody has a heart“.

The opening ceremony celebrated the beginning of the 11 day event that will see more than 4300 athletes from 159 nations, plus two refugees in an independent team,  push their bodies to the limit in the hopes of achieving gold.

It is the biggest Paralympics yet but did the ceremony live up to expectations? We line up the best moments below.

 

 

It wouldn’t be a Brazilian without colour! The ceremony burst into life when these hordes of vibrant dancers flooded into the Maracana Stadium.

 

 

What a movement this was! An extreme wheelchair athlete from Las Vegas, Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham, rode down a slide at high speed as fireworks exploded around him and the shot through the air to complete as series of spectacular mid-air somersaults.

 

 

The Olympics may have had Giselle, but we reckon Amy Pundy gave the supermodel a run for her money when she performed breathtaking choreography alongside a robotic arm. The paralympic snowboarder lost both legs below the knee when she was 19, but went on to win a Bronze medal in the 2014 Sochi games. She is also a talented dancer, having competed an America version of Strictly called Dancing With The Stars. What an inspiration!

 

 

Proving that Paralympic athletes never give up: Marcia Malsar, member of the 1984 Paralympics team falls but gets up again whilst carrying the torch. The stadium erupted into applause when she picked herself back up and cheered her on the rest of the way until she passed it to Ádria Santos, a former visually impaired runner. You go Marcia!

 

 

Obviously seeing ParalympicsGB arrive was going to be a major highlight. Britain’s flag bearer and 10-times paralympic games gold medallist Lee Pearson, said he couldn’t be prouder to lead the British team. “That was one of the most amazing experiences of my entire life. I am a proud Brit and I’m even more proud now after leading the ParalympicsGB athletes out. We had such good banter before coming into the stadium, they were all so supportive and lovely. Now let’s crack on with the Games and show the world what we can do. It’s been an absolutely brilliant opening ceremony.” Equestrian Lee was chosen by his 263 fellow athletes, who are aiming to beat their London 2012 record of 121 medals in 11 days.

 

 

And the grand finale! The symbolic cauldron was lit by six-time gold medalist Clodoaldo Silva. The Brazilian swimmer and wheelchair user at first looked overwhelmed at the prospect of facing the flight of stairs.  The staircase then opened, exposing a ramp leading to the cauldron, continuing the theme that nothing is impossible.

 

What did you think of the opening ceremony? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Facebook!

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