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

Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurdish Leader: Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid