8 Feb 2014

Sochi officially open for Games

11:07 am on 8 February 2014

The Sochi Winter Olympic Games have been officially opened at a high-octane opening ceremony before 40,000 spectators at the gleaming new Fisht Stadium.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin won't have been happy as the ceremony got off to a shaky start, when one of the five Olympic rings failed to open, and a planned fireworks display was abandoned, in an embarrassing early technical glitch.

However viewers in Russia and around the world watched perfect footage of the Olympic rings bursting from snowflakes into fireworks, with editors inserting rehearsal footage into the doctored television pictures.

The actual show went on without any further snags, blending cartoon-style inflatable domes, spectacular ballroom dancing amid towering imperial columns, and giant avant-garde shapes hovering above symbols of revolution and upheaval in a sweep through Russian history.

Fireworks filled the sky above the Olympic park surrounding the arena in a rousing finale to a show that drew heavily on Russia's rich heritage of classical music, literature and dance.

The honour of lighting the Sochi Olympic flame was given to two triple Olympics champions as Vladislav Tretyak and Irina Rodnina jointly lit the cauldron at Russia's first Winter Games.

The 61-year-old Tretyak, who won three Olympic ice hockey golds and a silver as goaltender for the Soviet Union and is president of Russia's ice hockey federation, received the torch from figure skater Rodnina and both former Olympians jogged from the arena to ignite the flame.