The Rio 2016 Paralympic opened on a grand note with spectacular performances at the famed Maracana stadium on Wednesday. Samba performances, parading wheelchairs, fireworks and the cheers of tens of thousands of Brazilians were the main highlight of the two-hour opening ceremony.

Carlos Martin, whose right hand is disabled, played the Brazilian national anthem on the piano. After the national anthem, the parade of athletes started. Each team carried a jigsaw piece, which had the name of the country on one side and faces of competing athletes on the other, during the parade.

One of the first performances of the ceremony was by American athlete Aaron Fotheringham, who in a wheelchair performed a back flip through a giant ring. The most prominent part of the opening ceremony was when the lights temporarily "blinded" the viewers to show what the Paralympic athletes face.

Also, former Brazilian Paralympian Marcia Malsar running in the rain with the torch was one of the highlights of the opening ceremony. While running, Malsar fell over, but rose back up and finished the run. Malsar, who needs a walking stick to walk around, was cheered by the audiences. Social media users also praised the former Paralympian and called her the new hero.

Take a look at the opening ceremony photos below:

Rio 2016 Paralympics
Fish-eye lens view of fireworks erupting during the opening ceremony.Reuters
Rio 2016 Paralympics
Fireworks erupt during the opening ceremony.Reuters
Rio 2016 Paralympics
The cauldron is lit during the opening ceremony.Reuters
Rio 2016 Paralympics
Brazilian Paralympic swimmer Clodoaldo Silva lights the flame during the opening ceremony.Reuters
Rio 2016 Paralympics
Performers take part in the opening ceremony.Reuters
Rio 2016 Paralympics
Performers take part in the opening ceremony.Reuters
Rio 2016 Paralympics
A performer in a wheelchair takes part in the opening ceremony.Reuters
Rio 2016 Paralympics
A performer in a wheelchair takes part in the opening ceremony.Reuters
Rio 2016 Paralympics
Brazilian Paralympic runner Marcia Malsar falls while carrying the torch as rain falls during the opening ceremony.Reuters
Rio 2016 Paralympics
Brazilian Paralympic runner Marcia Malsar is assisted after falling while carrying the torch as rain falls during the opening ceremony.Reuters
Rio 2016 Paralympics
Athletes from Ukraine take part in the opening ceremony.Reuters