Sochi Olympics Opening Ceremony
Published 7 February 2014
With a spectacular show of lights, fireworks, and pageantry, the opening ceremony for the Sochi Winter Olympics kick-started the games on February 7. Russian President Vladimir Putin was in attendance to officially announce the beginning of the event, which is the most expensive Olympics in history at a cost of some $50 billion. The games will run until February 23.
Fireworks go off over the Fisht Olympic Stadium at the start of the opening ceremony for the Sochi Winter Olympics.
A song and dance ensemble of Russian Interior Ministry troops strutted their stuff as part of the festivities.
The 40-000 capacity Fisht Stadium was packed for the ceremony.
The ceremony included several floats illustrating Russia's diverse landscape.
Athlete marshals with LED elements in their costumes create the colours of the Russian flag.
The games' official mascots also put in an appearance.
Dancers perform amid a spectacular balloon display representing Moscow's St. Basil's cathedral.
In one of many nods to Russian history, sculptures depicting a hammer and sickle float above a street scene.
The opening party also included a spectacular fireworks display over the Olympic Park.
A number of dance routines kept the crowd entertained.
Giant columns columns rise from trap doors in the stadium floor
The Olympic flag is carried into the stadium.
There were plenty of world leaders and dignitaries in attendance (first three people from left to right): United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach of Germany and Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova carries the Olympic flame.
Fireworks explode behind the Olympic flame cauldron at the end of the opening ceremony.