Just over 300 athletes will enter Maracana Stadium when Canada’s name is announced at Friday’s opening ceremony for the Rio Olympics.
Of the 312 Canadian athletes competing during the summer Olympics, about 18 have ties to the London area.
London native Miranda Ayim is a member of Canada’s women’s basketball team and tells AM980 the pressure is on to perform at the Olympics.
“You have the individual pressure that each person is trying to live up to, their own expectations and their hopes for the tournament, then you have the team pressure to achieve the goals that we’ve set out for ourselves, and then you have the pressure that family, friends, media, whoever, or just Canada in general,” she said. “But I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a bad pressure. It’s kind of an energy and a driving force to give us that extra energy and determination that we need to get it done.”
The women’s basketball team will face China in its first game of competition tomorrow at 1:15 p.m.
Canada’s women’s soccer team is also in action again tomorrow when they face Zimbabwe at 2 p.m.
On Friday night, Rosie MacLennan, Canada’s gold medal hopeful in the trampoline event, will lead the athletes into the stadium as the nation’s flag bearer.
In a recent visit to London, Canadian gold medalist and Norris Trophy winner with the L. A. Kings, Drew Doughty spoke about what it’s like to be at the Games.
“The Olympics is a special place. Just being there, living in the village, meeting other athletes from other countries that play different sports, some of which you’ve never heard of, it’s a special time,” he said. “Regardless of where you place in the Olympics, I think it’s just such an honour to be there and to represent your country. That’s the most important thing is trying your best and no matter what the result is, as long as you gave your full effort, that’s all that matters.”
Producers of the opening ceremony have stayed mum on what will be included in the spectacle. However, organizers have said that it will highlight global warming and the environment, focusing on the country’s Amazon rainforest.
It has also been reported that Brazil is spending $60-million on the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics and Paralympics, much less than Beijing and London of years past.
Millions of Brazilians’ hopes were dashed when it was reported that one of its most popular athletes, the famous soccer player Pele, will not participate in the ceremony.
It was widely believed that Pele would carry the torch to light the cauldron, but health concerns have prohibited him from doing so.
Meanwhile, the Olympic torch took an alternate route to get to the stadium as throngs of protesters gathered at the Copacabana beach to force a detour of the flame.
One Londoner, Carole Metron, who went through a two year process to be a volunteer at the Games said there’s a visibly mixed response from locals about hosting.
“Some local people feel like what the reports are saying, that maybe it’s not the best time for Brazil to be hosting these Games and they’re not too happy about it,” she said. “Yet the other side shows a very excited population, an extremely proud population, and many people just can’t wait for things to get started. So the energy in general has been fantastic.”