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Russia opened the first Winter Olympic Games in its history

 Фото: Владимир Песня/РИА Новости Фото: Владимир Песня/РИА Новости The official grand opening ceremony of the XXII Winter Olympic Games took place in Sochi at the “Fisht” stadium.

The gorgeous ceremony started with a symbolic introduction of the Russian Federation, that stretches from the Baltic Sea up to the Pacific; the audience beheld seven islands that stood for various areas of Russian province. Meanwhile a little girl Liuba sang a beautiful song while flying above the arena with the help of suspended structures.

After that the Sreten monastery choir sung the Russian national anthem and the national tricolor  flag was run up by the famous pilot astronaut Sergei Krikalev.

The Russian Olympic athletes marched to “Not Gonna Get Us!”

The competitor’s parade was traditionally started by the delegation of Greece, but that part lacked the flamboyance of the rest of the show – at least the inhabitants of the president VIP sky box seemed to be bored a little bit. Still, athletes from both Bermuda and Bahama islands succeeded in amusing the audience by marching in smart shorts. All in all the representatives of 87 countries took part in the opening parade.

It is a great pleasure to point out the excitement that swept over the grandstands during the Russian delegation’s procession. By the way, Russia can boast fielding the most numerous column on the march – according to the official information it consisted of almost 250 persons, including 190 athletes. The overall number of Russian athletes in Sochi is still larger – 225 (the biathletes, skiers and hokey-players did not take part in the march). Bobsledder Aleksandr Zubkov bore the flag. The Russian delegation wore traditional ushanka hats and marched to the popular song “Not Gonna Get Us!”. It was absolutely true – no one could catch up with them for the Russian delegation was the one to bring the parade to the suitable finish.   

The whole Russian history was shown to the public

It was after the parade’s end that the most interesting part of the show started. The host side succeeded in presenting a colorful performance “The history of Russia” that was based on numerous literary and cultural sources. It all started with images from folk tales: the audience was amazed by a giant famous Russian “troika” (three horses, the symbol of grace, power and freedom) made of ice that was followed by a giant flaming Sun and with a mythical “Whale Fish” (also a character of many folk tales). After that the world-famous piece of “War and Piece” – Natasha Rostova’s first ball – came to life – only to be followed by the symbols of the red industrial revolution – the numerous giant machines and factory workers. Afterwards the show went on showing the events and images from the XX century. 

After the conclusion of the history-inspired show both the president of the “Sochi 2014” organizing committee Dmitry Chernyshenko and the President of the International Olympic Committee Tomas Bach addressed the audience. Finally, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin proclaimed the XXII Winter Olympic Games open.

Tretyak and Rodnina kindled the Olympic Flame

In the final part of the grand opening ceremony several outstanding Russian citizens entered the arena – famous actress Chulpan Khamatova, the first female astronaut Valentina Tereshkova, two-time Olympic champion Vyacheslav Fetisov, masterful conductor and art director of the Mariinsky Theatre Valery Gergiev, screen personality Nikita Mikhalkov among them. They were carrying the Olympic flag.

European short track champion Ruslan Zakharov made the athlete’s oath, internationally certified cross country skiing referee Viatcheslav Vedenin junior made the referee’s oath and the Russian team’s coaching staff member Anastasia Popkova made the coach’s oath.

The Olympic Flame was then kindled by three-time Olympic champions Irina Rodnina and Vladislav Tretyak.

According to the Sochi-2014 organizing committee, a team of 9000 persons was responcible for the grand opening preparations while some three billion people watched its live TV broadcast.

«ОK» asked our experts to share their impressions of the grand opening ceremony

According to the Olympic skiing race champion-1976 Nina Balditcheva, the opening ceremony of the Russian winter Olympic Games was a success.

“I really enjoyed it. It turned out to be even better than the one in 1980 in Moscow. The organizing committee showed our history both vivdly and correctly. I felt like traveling with the help of a time machine”, - shared Nina Balditcheva.

A journalist from Saint Petersburg Konstantin Osipov pointed out that the director of the show succeeded in keeping the sense of proportion while producing a masterpiece, that affected the audience greatly.

“The opening ceremony turned out to be one of the best of its kind that I have ever seen. It really made the right impression. The image of Russia was depicted well. I strongly believe that we should be proud of our Motherland. There were real catches in the show, the episode with a street being managed by Nikolai Valuev as “Uncle Stepa” the traffic policeman (a famous soviet cartoon character) was among them. I have been trying to find out whether he was going to attend the opening ceremony or not – and he kept it all secret! He never told me that he would personally take part in it” – stressed Konstantin Osipov.

Andrei Nazarov who is a veteran fan of the SKA hockey club, watched the opening ceremony broadcast for one reason only – it took place in Russia.

“The whole thing was interesting here and there, while some parts were not. I like the overall scale of it and the fireworks. The thing that seemed really nice was the organizing committee paying considerable attention to the founding of Saint Petersburg. What I didn’t like was the advertising and the fact that team Russia marched to the cheesy song by «t.A.T.y»

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