Games Get Underway 2/7/14
SOCHI, Russia — "Welcome to the center of the universe." This is what the crowd at the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics was told by a Russian TV personality. The event started with the crowd chanting, "Russia, Russia." As the host team entered the stadium the lights formed a red, white and blue waving flag and the crowd leaped to its feet cheering.
Organizers for the opening ceremony put cloth bags on every seat in Fisht Stadium that included a guide to the ceremony and a replica Olympic medal that they asked those in attendance to put around their necks. The medals lit up in in several different colors, including blue, white and violet.
The actual lighting of the Olympic Flame was done by two former Russian Olympic greats, Vladislav Tretiak (TREHT'-ee-ahk) and Irina Rodnina (rod-REE'-nuh).
The program didn't go without incident as the lighting of the five Olympic Rings overshadowed the singing of the Russian national anthem. Five stars on cables drifted together above the stadium, and four of them turned into Olympic rings — but the fifth never unfurled and they all failed to erupt into white flames as planned.
Roughly 3,000 athletes from 88 countries are in Sochi (SOH'-chee) for the two-and-a-half weeks of competition.