Mauá Square, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil

The new Mauá Square, part of the of the modernization of Rio de Janeiro’s harbor region.

The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro officially kick off Friday night with an opening ceremony in Brazil’s Maracanã Stadium, marking the first time the games have ever been held in South America.

Media coverage in the lead-up to the games has been dominated by negative stories about problems with polluted water in the host city, violence in the streets and a Russian doping scandal, among other things, but organizers are hoping to move past those issues and use the opening ceremony to show a different side of Rio.

“I hope that the opening ceremony will be a drug for depression in Brazil,” said Fernando Meirelles, one of the creative directors behind the opening show.

“Brazilians can look at it and say, ‘we are a cool people, we are different ethnic groups, we live together, we never went to war, we are peaceful, we know how to enjoy life and we tend to be happy.'”

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