The former Brazilian marathon runner Vanderlei Cordeiro lit the Olympic cauldron on Friday evening, at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janiero. He lit it a little before midnight (5am Belgian time) as part of the Olympic Games opening ceremony.
The athlete got the Pierre de Coubertin medal after the 2004 Olympic Games, for his fair-play spirit during the games in Athens. He was attacked by a spectator when leading the Olympic marathon. He was given the honour of being the final Olympic torch relay runner. The torch was bought into the Maracana stadium by former tennis player Gustavo Kuerten, who passed it to Hortencia Marcari.
Pelé, the Brazilian football legend, was supposed be the final relay runner. During the week, he himself announced the organisers had invited him to carry the Olympic flame and light the cauldron. On Friday, he revealed he wouldn’t be able to because of pain in his hip.