A group of Olympians – some retired and others on the verge of joining teammates in Rio de Janeiro – flocked to a party in San Francisco Friday.
Watching the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony at the Players Sports Grill and Arcade on Pier 39, the athletes shared memories and dreams with each other.
Morocco’s Mohammed Lahna said the triathlon will mark his first time in the Paralympics. He said he was "proud to be part of this first edition" and hoped to "make history."
But all eyes were on Team USA Friday with Olympians saying walking into an opening ceremony is a gold medal moment.
"You can envision yourself competing, you can envision yourself going against an opponent, winning a medal. But you can't envision yourself walking with all the best athletes in the country in to a large stadium," said Olympic wrestler Jamill Kelly
Friday's long-awaited tradition kicked off two weeks of global competition and unity, which goes through Aug. 21.
"I know for me, my first Olympic village in Munich in ‘72 – people [were there] from every country, race and religion," said Marilyn King, a two-time Olympian, who competed in the five-event Pentathlon in 1972 and 1976. "We had respect and curiosity and lived in peace. I think we can encourage a global Olympic village."