When it comes to who flew first, Brazilians don't believe it was the Wright Brothers. According to Brazilians, it was Alberto Santos-Dumont who took flight first and the Wright Brothers were wrongly given the credit for being first. At the Rio opening ceremonies, Brazil paid tribute to the icon by having someone play him flying around the arena. But who played Alberto Santos-Dumont during the opening ceremony?
In Brazil, Santos-Dumont is a national hero, known as the "father of aviation" and "father of flight." According to the Smithsonian's website, He is best known for piloting one of the first powered flights on October 23, 1906. His aircraft was able to fly five meters off the ground and flew 60 meters in Paris. Later he also set the first record by The World Air Sports Federation on November 12, 1906, with a flight distance of 220 meters for 22.5 seconds. Although he was living in paris when her achieved his success in flight, Santos-Dumont's Brazilian heritage makes him a hero to the Brazilian people.
It makes sense then that the domestic airport in Rio de Janeiro, Santos Dumont Airport, is named after the "father of aviation." Additionally, the official Brazilian Presidential Aircraft is also named after him. With the great influence Santos-Dumont had on Brazilians, it was no surprise that they honored him in the opening ceremony.