Rio gets set for "cool" Olympic opening ceremony

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Early Friday, after a 12-thousand-mile journey, the Olympic torch reached the iconic "Christ the Redeemer" statue that looks over Rio de Janeiro.

People in the city were preparing for the Olympic opening ceremony, and those who couldn't get tickets to the event - or didn't want to pay for them - were expected to gather in fan sites to watch it projected on big screens, CBS News' Ben Tracy reports.

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That's in addition to the 3 billion people worldwide who were expected to tune-in to watch the event on television.

Getting the torch to Rio was not easy, Tracy reports: Some of the runners fell flat on their faces, protestors repeatedly tried to douse the Olympic flame, and one torchbearer bared a bit too much skin, wearing nothing but a thong.

But Friday, all eyes were on the opening ceremony, where even the fireworks had been given a practice run.

"Opening ceremonies is an amazing time for us and the world," said tennis champion Venus Williams. "It's a surreal experience."

It took two years to plan this Olympic opening ceremony, Tracy reports, which was to be held at Brazil's most famous soccer stadium, Maracana, which hosted the 2014 World Cup final.

The Oscar-nominated director of Friday's show, Fernando Mereielles said it would cost a fraction of the elaborate London and Beijing opening ceremonies, describing it simply as "cool."

"I'm quite scared, nervous of course," Mereielles said. "I mean, it's such a challenge and responsibility to represent the country for the whole world, so quite scary."

And there has been controversy.

It was widely reported that a weekend rehearsal included a moment where a woman, expected to be Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen, was mugged by a black child, Tracy says. The scene was panned as racist, and the reports were denied by the organizers.

"We never heard anything about that," Mereielles said.

The main question on Friday morning, though, was whether the ceremony would create an iconic Olympic moment, like when the arrow lit the cauldron in Barcelona in 1992, or when Muhammed Ali appeared, shaking from Parkinson's, at the 1996 Games, Tracy reports.

What Brazil certainly didn't want were any iconic mishaps, like when an Olympic ring was missing at the Sochi Winter Games.

"I'm excited," said Sid Hopkins, who travelled to Rio from Atlanta to add to his 7000 Olympic pins. "I'm hoping I might even get a ticket to the actual opening ceremony, so I'll go there and hang out Friday afternoon, see if I can get a ticket somehow."

But despite tickets being in high demand, one person did turn down a seat at the big event: Brazil's suspended president, Dilma Rouseff. Facing impeachment, she said she would not play second fiddle to the country's interim president, who she has accused of staging a coup.