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Monday 2 May 2016

Technical glitch mars Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Sochi

Published 07/02/2014 | 17:51

Fireworks are seen over the Olympic Park during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Fireworks are seen over the Olympic Park during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Ireland's flag-bearer Conor Lyne leads his country's contingent during the athletes' parade at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Conor Lyne of Ireland carries his country flag as the Irish team arrives during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi
Ireland's flag-bearer Conor Lyne leads his country's contingent during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Conor Lyne of Ireland holds the national flag and enters the arena with his teammates during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi
Britain's flag-bearer Jon Eley leads his country's contingent during the athletes' parade at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Germany's flag-bearer Maria Hoefl-Riesch leads her country's contingent during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Performers raise the Russian national flag during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
A map of Austria is projected onto the stadium floor as athletes march in during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach attend the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi
A general view shows the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
The Olympic rings, as one fails to open, during the Opening Ceremony for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in Sochi
Four of five Olympic rings are seen lit up during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Ice hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser of the Canada Olympic team carries her country's flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics
Athlete marshals light up to form a Russian flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics
Liza Temnikova as Lyubov performs during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium
Athlete marshals come together to form the Russian flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium
Liza Temnikova as Lyubov performs during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium
Liza Temnikova as Lyubov performs Voices of Russia during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium
A general view of fireworks over Fisht Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics
Snowflakes transform into four Olympic rings with one failing to form during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium
The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs performs during the pre-show of the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium
Julia Volkova and Lena Katina of t.A.T.u perform during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium
Flag-bearer Todd Lodwick of the U.S. leads his country's contingent during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Iran's flag-bearer Hossein Saveh Shemshaki leads his country's delegation during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games at Fisht stadium
Spain's flag-bearer Javier Fernandez (front L) holds the national flag as she leads the contingent in the athletes parade during the opening ceremony for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Italy's flag-bearer Armin Zoeggler leads his country's contingent during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Characters perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi
Performers are seen during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
A general view of the stadium is seen during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Performers are seen during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
The mascots of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, a bear and a leopard, take part in the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Dancers perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
A light show is seen during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi
Performers dance in the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Lit figures are seen during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova carries the Olympic torch during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi
Performers participate in the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
A general view of fireworks over the Olympic park during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi
Irina Rodnina and Vladislav Tretyak light the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi
The Olympic flame is lit during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium

The 2014 Winter Games got off to a shaky start on Friday when one of the five Olympic rings failed to open at the start of the opening ceremony, meaning the symbol could not be illuminated with fireworks as planned.

In what appeared to be a technical glitch, five giant snowflake-shaped structures suspended from the roof of the 40,000-capacity Fisht Stadium in Sochi failed to unfurl into a circle, and the sequence had to be abandoned.

The show went on with no further interruptions, and  cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, who has spent more days in space than anyone, hoisted the Russian flag as performers dressed in glowing red, blue and white lights formed a living flag.

Athletes emerged from beneath the stage up a ramp for the traditional parade, and a giant satellite image of each nation taken from space was projected onto the floor.

The crowd cheered them around the track, and light boxes on seats in the stands created a dazzling visual backdrop.

Before the symbol hiccup, a young girl in white dress soared into the air, lifted by a harness, and sang as islands representing different parts of Russia with folktale scenes drifted dreamlike across the stadium.

The spectacular, officially launching the Feb. 7-23 Games, began at 2014 local time (1614 GMT), and minutes later a burst of fireworks lit up the clear night sky outside the gleaming new stadium located on the shores of the Black Sea.

The state-of-the-art arena, one of several construction projects that have swelled the budget of the Winter Games to a record $50 billion, holds 40,000 people, and President Vladimir Putin was joined by more than 40 world leaders.

Millions more will watch on television and via the Internet as Russia hosts its first Winter Olympics, an event Putin has staked his reputation on.

The run-up to the Games has been marred by threats from Islamist militants based in nearby Chechnya and neighbouring southern Russian regions to launch attacks, and by international criticism of Russia's new "gay propaganda" law.

Organisers have also been under fire for the huge costs involved, unfinished accommodation and amenities, and even the

 treatment of stray dogs in and around Sochi.

But Putin will hope the opening ceremony signals an end to the griping, as athletes, who have been largely complimentary about the facilities and organisation so far, begin to provide the thrills and spills on ice and snow.

Details of the 2-1/2-hour show have been kept a closely guarded secret, but Russian television executive Konstantin Ernst, in charge of ceremonies at the Games, promised a passage through key moments in Russian history.

The ceremony will include reference to the upheaval of the 1917 Russian revolution and the importance of the avant-garde art movement at around that time.

"Avant-garde predicted the Russian revolution, and the Russian revolution killed avant-garde art," said Ernst, who as director general of Channel One Russia has been key in honing Putin's image for the Russian public.

He added that, unlike at the London Games in 2012, Russia could not draw on globally recognised contemporary music, meaning classical music and art would play a greater role. Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, one of the biggest names in international opera, will sing the Olympic anthem, and ballet stars will take part in dance sequences.

Putin's role is likely to be limited to declaring the Games open, as is traditional for the host nation's head of state.

Asked if Putin might seek to trump the stunt in 2012 where Queen Elizabeth appeared in a film clip with James Bond actor Daniel Craig before body doubles skydived towards the London stadium, Ernst replied: "You shouldn't hope too much for that."

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