After years of planning, billions of dollars in spending, much controversy and a growing list of @SochiProblems, the opening ceremony for the 2014 Winter Games has arrived. Vladimir Putin's Russia steps fully into the spotlight on Friday as the world turns its gaze toward Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi.
SCROLL DOWN FOR LIVE UPDATES ON CEREMONY
A record total of 88 nations are competing in the Sochi Games, with approximately 3,000 athletes vying for 98 gold medals. The Olympians will enter Fisht Olympic Stadium during the "Parade of Nations." As is traditional, the Olympians from Greece will begin the parade. Up next, Australia. The home team will conclude that portion of the ceremony. The United Stats will be the 67th team to enter the stadium.
Although entering the ceremony has always been an emotional experience for the athletes involved, Konstantin Ernst, the creative producer of the Sochi ceremony, told reporters that he has previously found it to be “one of the longest and more boring parts of the ceremony.” As reported by The Washington Post, Ernst has a plan to make this segment of the ceremony more "dynamic."
As is always the case for the opening ceremony, the details are largely under wraps. One element of the festivities drawing attention ahead of time was the performance of pseudo-lesbian Russian pop duo Tatu. Given the international outrage surrounding Russia's law banning gay "propaganda" to minors, the musical choice is conspicuous.
The identity of the person who will carry the Olympic torch into the stadium to light the cauldron remained a secret before the ceremony. Whomever handles the honor will conclude a historic journey for the Olympic flame. The torch relay covered 39,000 miles during the relay.
The event will not be televised live in the United States but will be aired on tape delay by NBC on Friday evening. NBC will make every event available for live viewing online but opted to keep the opening ceremony off its digital platform.
“We are looking to maximize the viewing experience for our audience,” Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group, told Variety, contending that context is an important part of the viewing experience.
STAY TUNED FOR LIVE UPDATES ON THE OPENING CEREMONY
.@Olympics ceremony rehearsal complete, tune in tonight to see the real thing.— NBC Delayed (@NBCDelayed) 1 year ago
The Sochi Olympics are officially open. Scroll down to check out images, commentary and facts from the opening ceremony. For those in the United States, the ceremony will air on NBC on Friday evening.
Entire #OpeningCeremony lasted about 3 hours. Organizers delivered the dramatic, colorful, engaging show that they had promised. #sochi— Stacy St. Clair (@StacyStClair) 4 years ago
Nutcracker (playing now), after Firebird, Swan Lake. Yes, world, we wrote it all. And it's beautiful. #Sochi— Paul Sonne (@paulsonne) 4 years ago
The flame is lit. Crowd erupts. Fireworks everywhere outside #Sochi has begun.— Paul Sonne (@paulsonne) 4 years ago
Tretiak and Rodnina have lit the Olympic flame.
Torch lit. Now it's a party.— Gerry Ahern (@USATGerryAhern) February 7, 2014
It's Tretyak and Rodnina heading to light the flame. Harkening back to a glorious era of Soviet sporting success. #Sochi— Paul Sonne (@paulsonne) 4 years ago
Tretyak and Rodnina are Soviet Olympic greats - him in hockey, her in figure skating. #Sochi— Paul Sonne (@paulsonne) 4 years ago
Figure skater Irina Rodnina and goalie Vladislav Tretiak get the flame now...— Helene Elliott (@helenenothelen) 4 years ago
Here come's Putin's rumored girlfriend, who will pass it to torch lighters.— Stacy St. Clair (@StacyStClair) 4 years ago
next to wrestler Alexander Karelin...— Helene Elliott (@helenenothelen) 4 years ago
Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova just ran into the stadium with the torch and handed it to pole vaulter Elena isinbayeva.
Final torch bearers include tennis star Maria Sharapova, pole vaulter Elena Isinbaeva, wrestler Alexandr Karelin and Alina Kabaeva.— Stacy St. Clair (@StacyStClair) 4 years ago
Almost done here. Now illuminated inliners --future speed skaters? -- with Olympic gods illuminated above. #Sochi2014— Jared S. Hopkins (@JaredSHopkins) 4 years ago
Several rollerbladers dressed in white just rolled onto the stage in different formations. Very cool.
It looks like they are ice skating, but they are really rollerblading. #nprsochi— Tamara Keith (@tamarakeithNPR) February 7, 2014
Speed skating might consider this look. Electrified. pic.twitter.com/GZ1FR3GlPW— David Wharton (@LATimesWharton) February 7, 2014
Olympic anthem sung by opera legend Anna Netrebko. Does not disappoint. #OpeningCeremony #Sochi— Stacy St. Clair (@StacyStClair) 4 years ago
The Olympic Anthem is now being performed as the Olympic flag is being raised.
Alan Enileev is a flag bearer and "cyber sportsman" He drives virtual race cars. Guess the Dungeons and Dragons guy wasn't available.— Gerry Ahern (@USATGerryAhern) 3 years ago
among the people carrying the Olympic flag is journalist Anastasia Popova known for her Assad-gloryfying Syria reporting.— Nataliya Vasilyeva (@NatVasilyevaAP) 3 years ago
Tereshkova and Fetisov and Gergiev carrying flag among others. #Sochi— Paul Sonne (@paulsonne) 4 years ago
The Olympic flag is making its way into the stadium with four people on each side holding it up.
Putin's announcement is followed by Tchaikovski's Swan Lake pursued by many in Russia as theme song for the 1991 coup.— Nataliya Vasilyeva (@NatVasilyevaAP) 3 years ago
Doves of peace at Sochi ceremony pic.twitter.com/az4eMbA8X3— Steve Wilson (@stevewilsonap) February 7, 2014
'Doves of Peace' look more like jellyfish of peace. pic.twitter.com/vs3o7oq4Mw— David Wharton (@LATimesWharton) February 7, 2014