Thousands flocked to downtown Colorado Springs on Friday evening to celebrate the beginning of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, and organizers did their best to try and give it a true feel of Brazil.
The Rio Olympic Downtown Celebration had the same music, some of the same carnival-style costumes, and lots of sport in various forms.
There was even an abbreviated running of a torch and lighting of the ceremonial flame.
It was a chance for the public to celebrate the games in Rio from afar, and for Olympics hopefuls like Stephen Garbett to meet their fans and promote their events.
“It’s a privilege for us to be out here and bring in the fans and show them our sport,” explains Garbett, “because a lot of people aren’t familiar with bobsled or skeleton, so being able to show them the experience and get them involved and share my story with them, it’s a great time.”
“It’s just a fun spectacle, brings the community in. sports corp does a great job to bring in all these different sports organizations, and really just get our community involved, so go Team USA,” said visitor Ian Ratz.
The carnival theme this year brought in special Brazilian performances
Mago with Brazilian Capoeira brought his martial arts performers and musicians.
“I think it puts a lot of pressure on us. I mean most of the people that train with us aren’t Brazilians, they’re Americans, and so they’re representing a bit of a foreign culture,” he said.
Some visiting the festival they were glad to be watching the games from far away, while others wish they could be in Rio to see it first hand, despite the long list of health and safety challenges facing the city this year.
The downtown festival lasted from 5pm-10pm.