There’s a song that was featured in the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Olympics that has a special place in my heart. It’s the classic bossa nova tune, The Girl From Ipanema. While I have loved that song since the first time I heard it in the 60’s, I didn’t know much of the background. I just knew I loved it. When I was a senior in high school, I competed in the Junior Miss Pageant in my home town of San Jose, California. When we entered the auditorium from the back, we sauntered down the aisle to the front of the auditorium and up the stairs to take the stage and we did so to The Girl From Ipanema and so it became even more special to me.
It has been on my mind since the other night, the night it was featured in the opening ceremonies. Today, I decided to write about it and went hunting for the lyrics and instead found some background info on the song. I discovered that it inspired by an actual girl, only 17 at the time the song was written. Quoting Wikipedia, “She would sometimes enter the bar to buy cigarettes for her mother and leave to the sound of wolf-whistles. In the winter of 1962, the composers saw the girl pass by the bar. Since the song became popular, she has become a celebrity.” The “she” is Helô Pinheiro who is now 71 years old. As I watched a video of her talking about how excited she was that the song was in the opening ceremony, I was somewhat angered because, even at 71 Pinheiro is a beauty. She could have easily been the one that sauntered across the stage while the song played, instead of the young model. In fact, she should have been the one. Instead, she was not even invited to the event. I guess they felt she was too old. That’s unfortunate because it’s another slap in the face of women all over the world who are discarded once they reach a certain age.I guess Americans are not the only ones that do that.
Read the wikipedia article. It’s very interesting. And watch the video for yourself and see if you don’t agree with me that she should have been the one to strut across that stage the other night.