Gustavo Kuerten Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony
Gustavo Kuerten was the picture of unbridled joy as he walked into the stadium carrying the Olympic flameReuters

The build up to the Rio Olympic Games has been symptomatic of the modern era – filled with negativity, always looking for the wrong, even when the right is staring you in the face and, almost gleefully, jumping on every little unfortunate news that happened along the way, while ignoring all the uplifting ones.

They say the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics is the perfect way to set the tone for what is to come, and if the one in Rio on Friday, at the Maracana, is anything to go by, that negativity, that disheartening news-mongering, will all be put to shame.

This was an Opening Ceremony to lift the weary soul, to bring a smile to everyone's faces and show that there is yet, a lot of good in this world. A tad dramatic, perhaps, but don't we all need a little joy in our lives, and going by one of the key themes, the Opening Ceremony certainly brought plenty of joy.

It was etched across the faces of every single athlete that marched out into the Maracana, cheered on by the tens of thousands inside the stadium.

There was joy in all the performances during the Opening Ceremony, young and old, black, brown and white.

And on the faces of the children from Vila Iparanga, a favela in Niteroi, when they sang the Olympic anthem, after they were given the honour of performing in the Opening Ceremony following a YouTube video that went viral.

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In Gustavo Kuerten, who was in tears, as he brought the Olympic flame to the stadium, waving his arms around like the endearingly-crazy personality that he is, and in Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima, the not exactly world renown former marathon runner, who looked like he could barely believe he would be the one lighting the Olympic flame.

Nothing signified the Olympics and its greatness more than when the refugee team, to a rapturous ovation from the crowd, walked onto one of the greatest stadiums in the world, highlighting, yet again, the power of sport.

Yes, there is corruption, yes, there is a lot of money being wasted while hosting the Olympics, yes, there is a sense of "what is the point of all this," but one thing the Opening Ceremony showed was that there is a purpose – to bring people together in the name of sport and maybe, just maybe, when we all need a lot of it, spread some joy.

And in this world of misery and heartbreak, that can never be a bad thing, can it.

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