The U.S. government has reportedly sent "1,000 spies" from America's intelligence services to help Rio de Janeiro with security for the 2016 Summer Games. The wheels represented the sugar plantation.
From supermodel Gisele Bundchen's tribute to the "Girl from Ipanema" to the promise of an athletes' forest to be planted after the Games, Brazil's big night saluted the country's past and pointed towards a greener future.
The 75-year-old Brazilian star said Friday that he is not in good enough health to participate in the ceremony, which features various torch-runners and typically culminates in one person - a native sport star - igniting the cauldron.
However, some were not that impressed with the inclusion of slavery, especially if it came at the expense of not talking about how slavery affects Brazil's present.
According to a Rio police statement on Saturday, a mugger was intercepted by an officer a day earlier near Maracanã Stadium, where the opening ceremony of the Olympics took place, and was gunned down.
And despite describing the final rehearsal as a "disaster", Meirelles and Games organizers will be relieved that festivities went off without a hitch.
"Our admiration is even greater because you managed this at a very hard time in Brazilian history". At his fifth and last Olympics, it was the first time the record holder of 22 medals had marched in an opening ceremony, having skipped previous ones to save energy for competition.
"The heat is melting the icecap", a voice intoned in the Maracana Stadium.
Rugby sevens will be making its debut at the Olympics, although rugby union featured regularly at the Games until 1924. Phelps was 15 when he made his first Olympic team in 2000, and he has competed in every Games since.
Brazil has drafted in 85,000 security personnel from 55 countries who will be stationed at the sport venues, Olympic Village, airports and main roads, nearly twice as many as were at the 2012 London Olympics. Graphic projections of world cities being swamped by rising seas set Rio de Janeiro's otherwise fun and festive gala apart from other Olympic openers.
"Rio de Janeiro would not be where it is today, without the Olympic Games as a catalyst", he said.
The mega-cities of Brazil formed in a dizzying video display as acrobats jumped from roof to roof of emerging buildings and then on to the steep favela that served as the front stage for the ceremony.
The artistic segment of the ceremony, directed by Fernando Meirelles, who is best known for his 2002 film "City of God", was a brief run through of the history of Brazil. "I hope we have wonderful games in Brazil".
In all, 4,800 performers and volunteers were involved in the show created to showcase Brazil as a garden of the world.
Due to Brazil's most intense security operation ever, some among the 50,000 attendees faced two-hour-long lines as Brazil staged its most intense security operation ever.
The Russian team was led into the stadium by flag bearer Sergei Tetiukhin, who is on the men's volleyball team.