BEIJING, Feb. 8 (Xinhuanet) -- Music, dance, lights and fireworks...the 2014 Winter Olympics has officially opened in the Russian resort city of Sochi with plenty of fanfare and bravado. The opening ceremony of the most expensive Olympics was an opportunity to dispel the anger, fear and suspicion that has marred the build-up to the Games.
Just after the sun set over the Caucasus Mountains and along the shore of the Black Sea just outside the Fisht Olympic Stadium, Russian TV star Yana Churikova shouted to a crowd still taking their seats: "Welcome to the center of the universe!"
The official ceremony opened with the Russian alphabet projected on the stadium floor, as a young girl told the story of her country’s heroes and their globally renowned achievements. A satellite image of the earth was then projected on the floor of the stadium as the athletes began the parade of nations.
But the ceremony did not go off without a glitch as the lighting of the five Olympic Rings was ruined when only four of them turned on and they all failed to erupt into white flames as planned.
The nearly three-hour ceremony ended with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron and a spectacular fireworks display. The honor of lighting the cauldron went to Russian hockey great Vladislav Tretiak and three-time gold medallist Irina Rodnina.