2016 Olympic Games begin tonight in Brazil

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RIO DE JANIERO - Today's the day. The venues are finished, the athletes are there to compete and tonight - the flame to open the Olympics in Rio will be lit, and the city of samba welcoming the world.

At the athletes' village the national anthem played - the U.S. flag raised. A sight the Americans hope to see a lot of at these games.

"Now that you're here, representing your country, it's not just about yourself or your friends and family. It's about the whole country," says Mikaela Mayer, U.S. Women's Boxing.

"I just have this profound sense of patriotism that I've never felt before," says Abby Johnston, U.S. Diving Team.

Tonight, the highly anticipated opening ceremony is expected to be watched by over a billion around the globe.

Among its themes: tolerance. The ceremony's creative directors saying this year is less about opulence and more about passion.

"We have social problems but even when you go to very poor areas, you see that people really know how to smile and are happy and are friendly, and I guess that spirit is in the ceremony," says Fernando Meirelles, creative director.

"I think there's something, uh, very special about Brazil which is this, uh, I call it this location for happiness," says Daniela Thomas, creative director.

That happiness now extends to 271 Russian athletes - officially cleared to compete - but in the wake of a doping scandal, more then a hundred others from the countries original roster sent packing.

"The message is clear: there is no place to hide for cheats," says Thomas Bach, IOC President.

The U.S. Men's Basketball team - eyeing another gold - headed up by four-time Olympian, Carmelo Anthony.

"For us as players, representing the United States this is the best way we can go out and send a message, by winning a gold medal and showing the world that we're united and through all the turmoil going on in our country," says Anthony.

In Brazil, a country obsessed with soccer, the Brazilian men's opening performing not sitting well with the hometown crowd - a scoreless draw against South Africa for a team facing intense pressure to rebound after it's disappointing silver medal in 2012.

And as for who is going to be lighting the torch tonight? It's still a tightly kept secret, but sure to stay with us after the Evening Report to find out.