2014 Winter Olympics opening ceremony

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2014 Winter Olympics
opening ceremony
Time 20:14 – 23:02 MSK (UTC+4)
Date 7 February 2014 (2014-02-07)
Location Sochi, Russia
Coordinates 43°24′08″N 39°57′22″E / 43.4022667°N 39.9561111°E / 43.4022667; 39.9561111Coordinates: 43°24′08″N 39°57′22″E / 43.4022667°N 39.9561111°E / 43.4022667; 39.9561111
Filmed by Channel One, VGTRK and OBS

The opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics took place at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, Russia, on 7 February 2014. It began at 20:14 MSK (UTC+4) and finished at 23:02 MSK (UTC+4). It was filmed and produced by OBS and Russian host broadcaster VGTRK.[1] This was the first Winter Olympics and first Olympic Games opening ceremony under the IOC presidency of Thomas Bach.[2][3][4] This was also the second consecutive winter olympic opening ceremony to be held in an indoor stadium.

The Games were officially opened by President Vladimir Putin. An audience of 40,000 were in attendance at the stadium with an estimated 2,000 performers.[5]

Preparations[edit]

The site of the opening ceremony, Fisht Olympic Stadium was built specifically for the games. Fisht Stadium seats 40,000. No Olympic or Paralympic competitions were held there; it was only used for the opening and closing ceremonies during the respective Games.[6] Television producer Konstantin Ernst was the main Creative Head in charge of the opening ceremonies.[7] Andrei Nasonovksy was the Executive Producer of record; and Andrei Boltenko was the writer and director of the ceremony. A different team was in charge of the Closing Ceremony as well as the Paralympic ceremonies.

Programme[edit]

Pre-ceremony activities included performances by the Russian pop duo t.A.T.u. and the Ministry of Internal Affairs choir, who performed a version of Daft Punk’s "Get Lucky".[8][9][10]

Opening section[edit]

Letter Association
(Romanisation)
Association
(in Russian)
А ABC Азбука
Б Baikal Байкал
В Sikorsky's helicopter Вертолёт Сикорского
Г Gagarin, Gzhel Гагарин, Гжель
Д Dostoyevsky Достоевский
Е Catherine II Екатерина II
Ё Hedgehog in the Fog Ёжик в тумане
Ж Zhukovsky Жуковский
З Corn mowing machine Зерноуборочная машина
И Empire Империя
Й Tchaikovsky Чайковский
К Kandinsky Кандинский
Л Lunokhod Луноход
М Malevich Малевич
Н Nabokov Набоков
О Space Station Орбитальная станция
П Periodic table Периодическая таблица
Р Russian ballet Русский балет
С Sputnik Спутник
Т Tolstoy, Television Толстой, Телевидение
У Ushanka Ушанка
Ф Fisht (Pun: Fisht) Фишт
Х Khokhloma Хохлома
Ц Tsiolkovsky Циолковский
Ч Chekhov Чехов
Ш Chagall Шагал
Щ Shchusev Щусев
Ъ Pushkin Пушкинъ
Ы We Мы
Ь Lyubov', Love Любовь
Э Eisenstein Эйзенштейн
Ю Parachute Парашют
Я Russia Россия

The ceremony, titled "Dreams of Russia" (Сны о России),[11] opened with an on-screen video showing 11-year-old Liza Temnikova playing a character named Lyubov (Russian for 'love') reciting the Russian alphabet. Each letter is associated with images of a famous Russian person or landmark. Many of the letters features some of Russia’s most famous writers such as Dostoyevsky, Nabokov, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and countless others that have impacted Russian history, culture, literature, and philosophy. Some of these featured writers and countless others were at one point banned in the USSR for censorship. During the rise of the USSR and Stalin, many published works were banned and censored, because the information from those materials was recognized as extremist by the government. Such authors like Tolstoy, who published, The Kreutzer Sonata, and The Kingdom of God Is Within You, were banned for its radical views.

Lyubov then flew into the air as she dreamed of grabbing the tail of a kite and being lifted far off the stage. Nine different floats, carrying Russian landscapes, passed beneath her as she slept.[7]

Five large snowflakes descended into the stadium which expanded and joined to form the Olympic rings. However, a technical error caused the fifth ring not to expand, and pyrotechnics did not go off from the rings. Of the defect, Ernst remarked that "no normal person would get distracted by one snowflake that did not open from the story that is being told over two and-a-half hours."[12]

Anthems[edit]

The Sretensky Monastery men's choir sang the Russian National Anthem, while 240 volunteers stood in formation wearing glowing suits of white, red, and blue to represent the Russian flag.[13][14] The Russian flag bearers were a detachment of cosmonauts — Fyodor Yurchikhin (who returned from space with the torch), Roman Romanenko, Svetlana Savitskaya and Yelena Serova — and the flag was raised by Sergei Krikalev.[15] The volunteers moved up and down to create a waving flag motion.[13][14]

Parade of Nations[edit]

The Parade of Nations was led, according to custom due to hosting the original ancient Olympics, by the Greek team, followed by other competing countries in alphabetical order based off their names in the Russian language, with the host country, Russia, culminating the march, again in accordance with custom. Athletes were then seated in the lower level of the stadium's stands. A projected rendering of the Earth showing each competing country (along with their names in English, French and Russian, respectively) was displayed on the stadium floor as they entered. The parade was accompanied with a soundtrack by Russian electronic dance music producer Leonid Rudenko, which featured remixes of popular Russian music.[12][14][16] This is the first parade where athletes aren't circling entirely around the stadium.

Performances[edit]

The opening ceremony focused heavily on classical music and large scale productions.[7] Performances journeyed through Russian history through the eyes of a little girl called Lubov ("Love"), played by Liza Temnikova, touching on Russia's art, music, and ballet.[12] The Russian history presentation was ushered in by a brightly-lit troika of three horses followed by a red sun. Performances included the building of St. Basil's Cathedral, represented by colorful inflatable sculptures,[17] and 17th century czar Peter the Great building an army as Russia transitioned from Medieval times to the 20th century.[18] Czar Peter's marching cadets (160 male dancers) moved from a map of the St. Petersburg Kremlin projected on the stadium floor to an imperial ball inspired by Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace," and featuring ballet dancers including Danila Korusntsev, Ivan Vasiliev, and Svetlana Zakharova.[19] The ball included music by Aleksander Sergeyevich Zatsepin and ended with Alfred Schnittke's "Concerto Grosso No. 5."[20]

Fourteen columns rose from the floor, then disappeared, replaced first by scenes of the Russian Revolution, followed by a giant moving reproduction of the famous statue "Worker and Kolkhoz Woman" made by Vera Mukhina in 1937, with hammer and sickle flying over the arena, symbolizing the period of great industrialization following the Bolshevik Revolution.[21][22] Dozens of men carried rockets and the name of Yuri Gagarin appeared on the floor, followed up skyscrapers emerging against a background of modern typography.[13] After a reference to the 1980 Summer Olympics, three large renditions of the mascots representing the games entered the stadium.[13][18]

Putin declared the games open,[12] followed by a performance of Swan Lake in which the Swans, holding strands of blue LED lights, transformed into the Dove of Peace, a traditional Olympic symbol. Prima ballerina Diana Vishneva was among those who performed.[18]

Many performers wore white to symbolise peace. More than 3,000 performers and 2,000 volunteers took part in the show.[12] 10,000 people in all helped organize and execute the ceremonies. 120 projectors and 2.6 million lumens turned the stadium floor into a 3D, moving landscape.[13]

Oath and torch lighting[edit]

Olympic flag entering the stadium.

The Olympic flag was brought into the stadium with eight flag bearers: Chulpan Khamatova, Lidiya Skoblikova, Anastasia Popova, Valentina Tereshkova, Viacheslav Fetisov, Valery Gergiev, Alan Enileev and Nikita Mikhalkov.[23] During the flag raising, opera singer Anna Netrebko later sang the Olympic Anthem in Russian.[13]

The Olympic Oath on behalf of all athletes was taken by Ruslan Zakharov (Short-track), Vyacheslav Vedenin took the oath for all judges and Anastasia Popkova took the oath for all coaches.

For the finale, tennis player Maria Sharapova brought the Olympic Torch (the torch that had gone to the International Space Station in November) into the stadium. She handed it off to pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva who, in turn, passed it to wrestler Aleksandr Karelin. Karelin then passed the torch to gymnast Alina Kabaeva. Figure skater Irina Rodnina took the torch and was met by former ice hockey goalkeeper Vladislav Tretiak, handing the torch to him. Tretiak jogged out of the stadium alongside Rodnina. The pair then jointly lit the Olympic cauldron installed at the Sochi Medals Plaza in the Sochi Olympic Park to the music of the "Firebird Suite" by Igor Stravinsky. This was followed by a fireworks display across the area around Fisht Olympic Stadium, including the other sporting venues.[12] Twenty-two tonnes of fireworks were lit as Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker score played.[12][13] In total, the show lasted just under three hours.[12]

Music[edit]

According to the Ceremony’s producers, Russia is said to be a country with a feminine soul. Lyubov "Love" is a representation of that idea. In the Dream sequence Liza Temnikova, as Lyubov, releases her red balloon, representing the dream of an era and the hope for the future.[24]
Opening ceremony performance.

Television coverage[edit]

The malfunction of the fifth Olympic snowflake ring was not seen during the telecast of the ceremony in Russia, where both Channel One and VGTRK quickly cut to footage of the scene from a dress rehearsal, where the sequence worked correctly.[26][27]

In the United States, NBC's broadcasts of the opening ceremony were delayed until evening hours.[28] The broadcast attracted 31.7 million American viewers, compared to 32.6 million for the live telecast of the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony.[29] NBC, claiming time constraints, omitted some anti-discrimination comments from IOC President Thomas Bach's speech.[30] The appearance of the Olympic mascots was also removed from the NBC broadcast, as was the choir performance of the Daft Punk song "Get Lucky".[31][32]

In Britain, BBC Two's coverage of the ceremony attracted a peak 3.2 million viewers and an average rating of 2.47 million.[33]

BBM Canada ratings for CBC's live, repeat and online broadcasts of the ceremony totalled 6,974 million viewers.[34] In Australia the Ten Network broadcast the ceremony at 3AM EDT

Reaction[edit]

The Independent's Simon Rice found some portions of the ceremony to be "confusing" and other "spectacular", while describing the cauldron lighting as "an unimaginative domino of flames".[35] The New York Times review described the proceedings as "sheer pageantry and national pride".[21] Katherine Monk of Canada's Postmedia News described the athletes' clothing as "a lot sexier than the old Communist-era cardboard garb".[36] Kathy Lally and Will Englund of The Washington Post commented that "The scale bordered on the colossal" and called the ceremony "poetry — in motion".[37]

Despite Russia's stance on LGBT people (including its 2013 law banning the distribution of LGBT "propaganda" to minors, which had been a major concern leading up to the Olympics), the Huffington Post noted that the opening ceremony, ironically, featured tributes to "some of history's most widely acclaimed and definitely gay Russians", including composer Peter Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), Ukrainian-born Russian humorist, dramatist, and novelist Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852), filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948), ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky (1889-1950), and patron of arts, and founder of Ballets Russes, Sergei Diaghilev.[38][39] On the same topic, critics also noted the Russian pop duo t.A.T.u were invited to perform during the opening ceremony; although they are not actually lesbian, the all-female duo were well known for incorporating themes of lesbianism in their music and on-stage personas (live appearances often featured the singers kissing each other), its name is a corruption of a shortened Russian phrase meaning "this girl loves that girl", and the duo made a statement in support of LGBT rights in the wake of Yuri Luzhkov's objection to the 2007 Moscow Pride parade.[40] Organizers noted that t.A.T.u were chosen because they were well known to an international audience.[41][10]

Dignitaries in attendance[edit]

In addition to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, forty-four heads of states or governments attended the opening ceremonies,[12] including:[42]

Politicians declining to attend the ceremonies[edit]

References[edit]

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53. OMEGA Olympic Games in Sochi 54. • Tolstoy, Leo. The Kreutzer Sonata. Retrieved from: http://search.beaconforfreedom.org/search/censored_publications/publication.html?id=9800730 55. • Tolstoy, Leo. The Kingdom of God Is Within You. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kingdom_of_God_Is_Within_You 56. • Russia’s Federal List of extremist materials website. Retrieved from: http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fweb.archive.org%2Fweb%2F20110626083725%2Fhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.minjust.ru%2Fru%2Factivity%2Fnko%2Ffedspisok%2F&act=url

External links[edit]