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Olympian Ben Kanute stages opening ceremony for 1 after missing Rio festivities

by Jordi Lippe-McGraw / / Source: TODAY

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Athletes wait their whole lives to attend the Olympics, and the opening ceremony is the spectacular kickoff event. Roughly 30 million people tuned in to watch the festivities Aug. 5, and some 75,000 others attended live in the stadium. It's a moment in which all the competitors can relish. Well, almost all of them.

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Team USA triathlete Ben Kanute wasn't able to travel to Rio de Janeiro in time for the opening ceremony, but he still wanted to participate. So the 23-year-old staged his own version while at a training camp in Flagstaff, Arizona.

 Olympian Ben Knute Stages His Own Opening Ceremony Courtesy of Ben Kanute

"I don't get to Rio until Aug. 12 and I was a bit bummed I wouldn't get to walk at the opening ceremony," Kanute told TODAY. "I'm at training camp in Arizona and a bunch of us were talking about it and decided to just make our own. I figured I had all the stuff and the uniform, so we filmed a video of me walking, and training partners were the cheering audience."

In the video, Kanute walks down an empty street decked out in the official Ralph Lauren getup holding up his cellphone to take pictures, while waving at the non-existent crowds as the familiar Olympic anthem, "The Bugler's Dream," plays in the background.

RELATED: 2016 Rio Olympics opening ceremony: 7 must-see moments

"We were laughing the whole time," added the first-time Olympian. "It was a fun way to commemorate the moment. Not attending won't detract from my Olympic experience."

Though he had to miss the opening ceremony, Kanute is looking forward to attending the closing ceremony. "The men's triathlon takes place on Aug. 18, so I'll be able to stick around after," he said. "I'm looking forward to diving into the atmosphere there, but obviously performing my best is my top priority. I love being a part of Team USA."

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