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Sochi Olympics Opening Ceremony

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.
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Fireworks go off over the Fisht Olympic Stadium at the start of the opening ceremony for the Sochi Winter Olympics.

The 40-000 capacity Fisht Stadium was packed for the ceremony.
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The 40-000 capacity Fisht Stadium was packed for the ceremony.

The ceremony included several floats illustrating Russia's diverse landscape.
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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.
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Athlete marshals with LED elements in their costumes create the colours of the Russian flag.

The games' official mascots also put in an appearance. 
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The games' official mascots also put in an appearance. 

Dancers perform amid a spectacular balloon display representing Moscow's St. Basil's cathedral.
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Dancers perform amid a spectacular balloon display representing Moscow's St. Basil's cathedral.

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In one of many nods to Russian history, sculptures depicting a hammer and sickle float above a street scene.
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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. 
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The opening party also included a spectacular fireworks display over the Olympic Park. 

A number of dance routines kept the crowd entertained. 
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A number of dance routines kept the crowd entertained. 

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Giant columns columns rise from trap doors in the stadium floor
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Giant columns columns rise from trap doors in the stadium floor

The Olympic flag is carried into the stadium. 
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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
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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. 
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Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova carries the Olympic flame. 

Fireworks explode behind the Olympic flame cauldron at the end of the opening ceremony.
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Fireworks explode behind the Olympic flame cauldron at the end of the opening ceremony.

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