Rio Olympics: Favorite moments from Friday

Story highlights

The opening ceremony showed off Brazilian culture and history

The refugee team made its appearance in the parade of nations

CNN  — 

The Olympic Games began Friday with a cool opening ceremony that included samba, lasers, the country’s famous supermodel and plenty of dancing. It was part history lesson, part celebration of culture, part pitch for peace and for the health of the planet.

It’s just too bad that Pele, the football legend, was too ill to be there. Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima, a former runner who led the marathon at the 2004 Games until he was attacked by a spectator, lit the Olympic cauldron.

Many of the millions of people watching around the world were heartened to learn that each of the 11,000-plus athletes would plant a seed of a tree to form a forest.

They also saw Gisele Bundchen sashay across the Maracana stadium floor to the bossa nova music of “The Girl from Ipanema.”

Here are some of the fascinating things about the first official day of the Games.

Inspiring moment: It was awesome to see the group of refugee athletes getting a chance to march in the parade of nations. Actress and UNICEF Goodwill ambassador Mia Farrow writes that fans can show their support for the team by educating themselves on the plights of refugees.

Ready to bolt: This is probably it for American sprinter Justin Gatlin – his last chance to take down the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt. Gatlin says he isn’t concerning himself with whether he can stop the Jamaican star from becoming the first man to win three sprint golds in three consecutive Games.

“This is my third Olympics, so I’m bringing the fun, carefree Justin Gatlin from 2004 and the ‘honored to be here’ Justin Gatlin from 2012,” he told CNN.

Karaoke kings: Late night show host James Corden has made singing in the car go from silly to cool. U.S. swimmers managed to make their own “Carpool Karaoke” a little of both.

Not all good news: A Moroccan boxer is denying any wrongdoing after he was arrested Friday on on allegations of trying to rape two Brazilian maids at the Olympic Village. Hassan Saada, 22, is being questioned by authorities and hasn’t been charged. His lawyer is trying to get him out of detention in time for his scheduled fight Saturday.

What to watch for on Saturday