On the 7th of February this year, thousands of people flew to the city of Sochi in Russia to witness the opening ceremony of the 22nd Winter Olympics.
It was, without a doubt, dazzling – with more than 3,000 people from artistic groups participating in dance, ballet, acrobatic and circus performances watched by a 40,000 strong audience at Sochi’s Fisht Olympic Stadium, accompanied by wonderful fireworks. After all, what less was there to expect of the most expensive Olympics in history? (The budget, while originally just at US$12 billion, was later extended to US$51 billion – surpassing the estimated cost of US$44 billion for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing!)
Despite so, watching the opening ceremony was described by Time Entertainment as ‘[feeling] like going to the party of someone you barely knew’. The ceremony was a story Russia was telling the rest of the world (and most of all, itself) about a vital, proud and storied country on the rise.
It began with a Wonderland trip through the Cyrillic alphabet by a young Russian girl named Lyubov (played by Liza Temnikova). And it ended with a gasp-inducing visual journey right through the country’s history, passing troikas of horses, cosmonauts and War and Peace.
One of the main highlights of the opening ceremony for Sochi 2014 was definitely the technical glitch in one of the Olympic rings. The five Olympic rings (shaped in snowflakes) were supposed to unfold, accompanied by a display of fireworks. However, one of the rings (red) failed to unfold, leaving only four Olympic rings hanging in mid-air and prompting the following fireworks display to be cancelled. Russian state television immediately cut from the live broadcast to a footage from the ceremony rehearsal earlier in the week, in which all five rings successfully folded. It then showed the fireworks display from the practice run-through.
Although faced with a setback, the opening ceremony to the Winter Olympics ended wonderfully with the Olympic flame lit by former Hockey player Vladislav Tretiak and figure skater Irina Rodnina. The Firebird-inspired Olympic torch lighted a row of flame jets that burst into flame at the cauldron, officially kicking off two weeks of the 22nd Winter Olympics!
And so, let the games begin.
– Loo Yan Ling (3 Unity)