Olympics opening ceremony set to be a sophisticated affair

About 10,500 athletes will compete in 28 sports over the course of the next fortnight or so.

FILE: Aerial view of the Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado Hill and the Mario Filho (Maracana) stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Overnight, the 31st Olympic Games will be officially opened in what's set to be a sophisticated affair centred around themes of ecology, diversity and joy.

It will get underway at 1am South African time with 400m World Champion Wayde van Niekerk to lead out the nearly 140 athletes making up Team South Africa.



About 10,500 athletes will compete in 28 sports over the course of the next fortnight or so.

Rio de Janeiro will have a huge task at hand if it's to live up to London's opening ceremony but with austerity front of mind for organisers and the country they will set for classy and sophisticated.

About 207 nations, including the Refugee Team, will parade around the track at the famous Maracan√£ Stadium

While Dame Judi Dench is expected to feature along with Brazilian model Gisele B√ľndche, there's much talk over who will be tasked with lighting the Olympic flame... the odds though firmly on football superstar Pele to have that huge honour.