Rio opening ceremony features Gisele Bundchen 'mugging': reports`

Supermodel Gisele Bundchen hits the catwalk in advance of her highly-anticipated appearance at the Rio Olympics.
Supermodel Gisele Bundchen hits the catwalk in advance of her highly-anticipated appearance at the Rio Olympics.PHOTO: AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - The opening ceremony at the Rio Olympics will feature a shocking scene in which former supermodel Gisele Bundchen suffers an attempted mugging, then takes pity on the young thief, media reports said Monday.

Details are top secret ahead of this Friday's ceremony.

However, there have been widespread leaks following a dress rehearsal at Rio's Maracana stadium late Sunday, despite pleas from organisers to keep it under wraps.

The most eye-catching descriptions from inside the legendary football stadium involved reports of Bundchen's starring role in a simulated mugging - a crime that in real life plagues the host city.

According to Folha daily, the Brazilian model struts out to "Girl from Ipanema," a classic hit song celebrating a beautiful, young woman of Rio, and is "assaulted by an actor." "The final message from the scene, however, will be peace," the report said.

The news site olimpiadas.uol.com.br reported that the model is "approached by an actor in a scene resembling an assault." "The boy (mugger) approaches the artist and is chased by policemen before returning close to Gisele and being protected by her," the report said.

O Dia newspaper, which often reports on violent crime in Rio, commented that the scene stood out in the "beautiful and perfect" dress rehearsal.

"In the middle of her walk, Gisele is attacked by a kid! That's right: assaulted!" "Suddenly two police seize the kid and, like in a film with a happy ending, Gisele embraces the assailant and everyone celebrates. This seems like a strange homage to Rio. And it is!" O Dia concluded.

The newspaper quoted an unnamed cast member in the ceremony as saying that the scene spoils the whole show. "We have complained," the participant said. "I hope it does not go ahead." The Olympic organizing committee did not respond to a request from AFP for comment.

Bundchen retired from the runway in 2015 as the world's highest paid model. Married to NFL star quarterback Tom Brady, she remains active in fashion and is one of Brazil's biggest celebrities.

Rio de Janeiro is hosting South America's first Olympic Games. Security is a major issue, with thousands of troops patrolling the streets, as well as heavily reinforced police.

According to official statistics, murders in Rio de Janeiro state rose 17 per cent to 2,470 in the first half of this year. Street robberies rocketed, up 34 per cent to 58,999 incidents.

The depiction of police in the crime scene is also likely to raise eyebrows.

Rio state officers killed at least 645 people last year and over 8,000 over the last decade, Human Rights Watch said in a study last month. They are also accused of frequently tampering with evidence to cover up killings by officers.