News / Europe

Sochi Olympics Begin With Spectacular Opening Ceremony

Sochi Olympics Begin With Spectacular Opening Ceremonyi
X
February 08, 2014 2:06 AM
Competition begins in earnest Saturday at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia's Black Sea resort city of Sochi. The Games kicked off Friday with a glitzy opening ceremony that organizers hoped would paint a shining image of post-Soviet Russia. VOA's Mike Richman has more.

Sochi Olympics Begin With Spectacular Opening Ceremony

Mike Richman
Competition begins in earnest Saturday at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia's Black Sea resort city of Sochi. The Games kicked off Friday with a glitzy opening ceremony that organizers hoped would paint a shining image of post-Soviet Russia.

Brand-new Fisht Olympic Stadium was a sea of Russian color and pageantry Friday.  

There, the opening ceremony for the Sochi Olympics featured Russian music, plus ballet stars, acrobats and cosmonauts, and many other entertainers.

Athletes from the more than 80 nations competing in Sochi packed the 40,000-seat stadium, as did Olympic fans from all over the world.

  • Fireworks are seen over the Olympic Park during the opening ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 7, 2014.
  • Actors perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, Feb. 7, 2014.
  • A general view shows a scene from the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Feb. 7, 2014.
  • The colors of the Russian flag are seen during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Feb. 7, 2014.
  • A general view shows the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Feb. 7, 2014.
  • A scene from the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Feb. 7, 2014.
  • International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach of Germany talks to Russian President Vladimir Putin during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Feb. 7, 2014.
  • Flag-bearer Todd Lodwick of the U.S. leads his country's contingent during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Feb. 7, 2014.
  • OlympicsA map of Canada is projected onto the stadium floor as athletes march in during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Feb. 7, 2014.

World leaders

More than 40 world leaders were in attendance, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

VOA Moscow bureau chief James Brooke was also there. He spoke to VOA by Skype.

“Yes, it was really a celebration that Russia’s back, a celebration of Russian pride, stretching through 400 years of Russian history, from Peter the Great building the navy, all the way up to the Soviet cosmonauts exploring space," said Brooke. "There were ballerinas; there were references to the classical authors Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, music by Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky.  Very stirring, and huge applause by the crowd of 40,000.”

After the customary lighting of the Olympic torch, an amazing fireworks show brightened the night sky with the event reaching its conclusion.

"A spectacular collection of fireworks that went off in just many minutes," said Brooke. "One person commented to me, 'I think that’s why we had a lousy fireworks display in my hometown. They sent all the fireworks to Sochi.' They just went on and on and on lighting up the Black Sea skyscape here. Really spectacular.”

Security issues

On the security front Friday, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said it is unfair to single out the Sochi Games as facing a particular threat.

"You can maybe not imagine how many threats there were on each of the Games before. We had threats on Sydney, we had threats on Athens. Maybe you remember the situation in Salt Lake City. There were many [threats], so you cannot single out these Games in this way," said Bach.

Russian security forces are on high alert following threats by Islamic extremists to carry out attacks and disrupt the Games.

Analysts have warned of possible attacks against soft targets, such as train stations and other areas where civilians congregate.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Laisie from: Canada
February 08, 2014 4:37 PM
I don't know why we are not able to see the opening ceremony it has been taken down in youtube and other sides I would have love to see the ceremony all you can find is the the one olympic ring not working. Give me a break one of our pillar on the Canadian winter games did not work and it was not the end of the world is not fare that the ceremony is not freely available this games are being shadow by bad publicity

In Response

by: Suzie Barlette from: United States
February 13, 2014 4:44 PM
I must agree. It seems like the U.S. is nit-picking for the negatives of Sochi. This I am ashamed of for my beloved country.


by: windson from: china
February 08, 2014 7:25 AM
America is a great country,but sometimes a little bit paranoid.At this moment that all celebrate,politics should be set aside.Generosities would make the America even more great!God bless sochi! God bless all of us!

In Response

by: Suzie Barlette from: United States
February 13, 2014 4:42 PM
I love the country I am from, and very proud of it. And yet, I agree that politics should not be the matter in everything. If America sees Russia as a threat, media will do nothing to stop it. The only thing that can change is how we, the citizens as well as others around us, understand what is truly happening...for Russia is a great country. There is a reason why Sochi was chosen for this years Olympics, do not defy the reasonings of the committee.


by: Suzy Hall from: Cincinnati, Ohio
February 08, 2014 1:40 AM
I wish Matt and Meredith would shut up! Take a breath now and then for God's sake!


by: Anonymous
February 08, 2014 1:37 AM
russians pretty tacky

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid