2014 Winter Olympics opening ceremony

Coordinates: 43°24′08″N 39°57′22″E / 43.4022667°N 39.9561111°E / 43.4022667; 39.9561111
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2014 Winter Olympics
opening ceremony
Date7 February 2014; 9 years ago (2014-02-07)
Time20:14 – 23:02 MSK (UTC+4)
LocationSochi, Russia
Coordinates43°24′08″N 39°57′22″E / 43.4022667°N 39.9561111°E / 43.4022667; 39.9561111
Also known asPower to the People
Filmed byOBS on behalf of Channel One and VGTRK

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 broadcasters Channel One and 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]


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 Nasonovsky 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.


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]

Dreams of Russia[edit]

The ceremony, 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.

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. The mishap was later self-mocked by the organizers at the closing ceremony where one of the roundrelay dance groups symbolizing the Olympic rings "failed" to expand.


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.[11][12] 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.[13] The volunteers moved up and down to create a waving flag motion.[11][12]

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 on their names in the Russian language, with the host country, Russia, culminating the march. 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][15]


After the Parade of Nations entered, the three mascots of the Games come out and walk on an ice-based shaping rink LED of the stadium. The hare is an alpine skier, the leopard and the polar bear are the skiers using skating rink shoes. The mascots bow quickly then head off for the next segment.[11]


Russian President Vladimir Putin and Irina Skvortsova (a former bobsleigh racer who received multiple injuries in Germany) at the opening of the Games

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 Lyubov ("Love"), played by Liza Temnikova, touching on Russia's art, music, and ballet.[14] 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 colourful inflatable sculptures,[16] and 17th century czar Peter the Great building an army as Russia transitioned from medieval times to the 20th century.[17] Czar Peter's marching cadets (160 male dancers) moved from a map of the St Petersburg projected on the stadium floor to an imperial ball inspired by Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, and featuring ballet dancers including Danila Korsuntsev, Ivan Vasiliev, and Svetlana Zakharova.[18] The ball included music by Aleksander Sergeyevich Zatsepin and ended with the fifth movement (Rondo) of Alfred Schnittke's Concerto Grosso No. 1.[19]

Fourteen columns rose from the floor, then disappeared, replaced first by scenes of the Russian Revolution and Soviet industrialization, 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, symbolising the period of great industrialisation following the Bolshevik Revolution.[20][21] 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.[11]

The organizing committee initially wanted to include scenes of Soviet victory in the World War Two, but the IOC protested and the plans were abandoned.[22]

Putin declared the games open,[14] 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.[17]

Many performers wore white to symbolise peace. More than 3,000 performers and 2,000 volunteers took part in the show.[14] 10,000 people in all helped organise and execute the ceremonies. 120 projectors and 2.6 million lumens turned the stadium floor into a 3D, moving landscape.[11]

Oath and torch lighting[edit]

The 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.[11]

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 Sochi Olympic Park to the music of the "Firebird Suite" by Igor Stravinsky. Gas jets led the Olympic flame to the top of the Olympic Cauldron. This was followed by a fireworks display across the area around Fisht Olympic Stadium, including the other sporting venues.[14] Twenty-two tonnes of fireworks were lit as Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker score played.[11][14] In total, the show lasted just under three hours.[14]


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.

The music for the winning bid was composed by Eric Babak with the Russian State Symphony Cinema Orchestra with the State Academic Choral Chapel of Russia.


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.[25][26]

In the United States, NBC's broadcasts of the opening ceremony were delayed until evening hours.[27] The broadcast attracted 31.7 million American viewers, compared to 32.6 million for the live telecast of the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony.[28]

In Britain, BBC Two's coverage of the ceremony attracted a peak 3.2 million viewers and an average rating of 2.47 million.[29]

BBM Canada ratings for CBC's live, repeat and online broadcasts of the ceremony totalled 6.974 million viewers.[30]

In Australia, Ten broadcast the ceremony at 3 am AEDT.


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".[31] The New York Times review described the proceedings as "sheer pageantry and national pride".[20] Katherine Monk of Canada's Postmedia News described the athletes' clothing as "a lot sexier than the old Communist-era cardboard garb".[32] Kathy Lally and Will Englund of The Washington Post commented that "The scale bordered on the colossal" and called the ceremony "poetry – in motion".[33]

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), ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky (1889–1950), and patron of arts, and founder of Ballets Russes, Sergei Diaghilev. Russian organizers denied any connection, stating that these figures were selected because of their cultural significance.[34][35] 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.[36] Organizers noted that t.A.T.u were chosen because they were well known to an international audience, denying any relation to LGBT rights.[10][37]

Dignitaries in attendance[edit]

Aside from athletes and members of the IOC, 5 multilateral leaders and representatives from more than 80 countries (included at least 60 heads of state and government) attended the opening ceremony.[14][38]

Politicians declining to attend the ceremonies[edit]


  1. ^ Representing the Queen of Denmark
  2. ^ Representing the King of Norway
  3. ^ Representing the King of Spain
  4. ^ Representing the Queen of the United Kingdom


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