Sochi Olympics 2014: Opening Ceremony Preview
Fireworks at Sochi's Opening Ceremony dress rehearsal. (Photo: Reuters)
The Opening Ceremony for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, is less than 24 hours away, and organizers are still pretty coy about what they have planned. The Friday night festivities are going to be a surprise, but there are some things we know for sure.
Here is an overview of the event.
Fisht Olympic Stadium is one of the 11 venues that will host the events and it's very close to the Olympic Village, and it has a capacity of 40,000. The stadium cost around $780 million to build, which includes a roof that can change colors.
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Here is the description from the Sochi website:
The design of the "Fisht" Olympic Stadium in Sochi is unique across Russia. For the first time in the construction of a large-scale structure, a translucent polycarbonate roof will be used which will give the building an appearance of snowy peaks, ensuring it sits in harmony with the landscape of the Imeretinskaya Valley and the Caucasus Mountains.
One of the great traditions of the Opening Ceremonies is the Parade of Athletes from all the participating countries. It's a long, hard road for the athletes just to make it to the Olympics, but one of big highlights for them is their introduction during opening night.
Each country will feature a designated flag bearer to represent their athletes, and they'll appear in alphabetical order.As per Olympic tradition, Greece will start the parade, and the host country Russia will be last. It's not very often that we get so many of the world's best athletes together in one place, and it's the perfect celebration of the Olympic spirit.
Canada's flag bearer Hayley Wickenheiser says Sid Crosby's advice "wave it high and don't trip" pic.twitter.com/J9wk5GLJcH — Joy Malbon (@JoyCTV) February 5, 2014
While we don't know exactly what will take place during the Opening Ceremonies, we do know some of the names that will be involving in the event. Violinist Yuri Bashmet., conductor Valery Gergiev, pianist Denis Matsuev, and ballerina Ulyana Lopatkina will be among those performing. Last week organizers provided a preview of the ceremony, and as of yesterday, a full dress rehearsal has been completed.
In the weeks leading up to the Games, terrorist activity was at the forefront of people's minds. It still remains a wild card, but the media-fueled panic has subsided. Athletes, journalists, and officials are happy with the extensive checkpoint parameters, and president Vladimir Putin is now in Sochi providing reassurance.
The Olympic Torch
There isn't a better symbol for the Olympic Games than the passing of the torch. To illustrate just how memorable this tradition is, Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin tweeted about his experience of carrying the torch in the early stages.
So sick!!!!!!!best moment in my life!!!thx @cocacola and Sochi 2014 !!!! pic.twitter.com/6UQIU48lec — Alex Ovechkin (@ovi8) September 29, 2013
On Friday night, the torch passing will come to its conclusion as the last athlete will light the cauldron in front of millions around the world. Once lit, the Games will officially have begun. The flame will burn throughout the Olympics until it is finally extinguished at the Closing Ceremony on February 23.
Night falls on the Olympic Park in Sochi. A look at the unlit Cauldron & Bolshoy Ice Dome #Olympics #Sochi2014 pic.twitter.com/bZaJE5Cexy — NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 4, 2014
How to watch
The ceremonies begin at 8 p.m. local Sochi time, but access differs depending on where you live.
It won't be televised in the U.S. until 7:30 p.m. EST on NBC. You can follow the Sochi Games digitally on NBCOlympics.com or on the NBC Sports Live Extra app - available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices, but the Opening Ceremony will not be streamed live.
You can watch it live on television if you live in Canada. CBC coverage starts live at 10 a.m. EST, with additional coverage provided by their CBC Olympic Games app.
If you are in the U.K., the BBC will also feature live coverage of the Opening Ceremony.
The CBC and BBC have both blocked access to U.S. residents, but there are legal ways to get around this. According to Forbes, you can simply use a VPN (virtual private network) service. This is a quick and easy way to watch live, rather than waiting for a tape-delayed broadcast of the event.