Olympic Opening Ceremonies have become one of the most-watched television events in the world, and the huge extravaganza lined up in Sochi should be a phenomenally entertaining show.
Event coordinators are always attempting to one-up the efforts of the previous Olympics, which can lead to some extremely creative, and sometimes abstract, aspects of the show. Oscar Lopez of the Latin Times elaborates:
The event is going to be extravagant with over 1,000 people expected to take part. Indeed, a chorus made up of over one thousand Russian children is expected to perform as part of the event. Russia will no doubt be trying to outdo the extravagance of China's 2008 ceremony, which was one of the largest and most exciting ever.
The 2012 Summer Games in London featured a few such moments, as viewers were transported through the history of Great Britain before being thrust into the bright lights of the future.
But what, exactly, should you expect from the big show in Sochi this February? Here's a peek at what we know about the Opening Ceremonies from the 2014 Winter Games.
When: Friday, Feb. 7
Where: Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi, Russia
NBC made an interesting executive decision to abstain from live-streaming the event, which will force those interested in watching to tune into the television broadcast.
Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group, explained the company's reasoning: "We want to put context to it, with the full pageantry it deserves," as relayed by Brian Steinberg of Variety.com. Steinberg added:
He said executives believed an unvarnished live stream of the colorful ceremonies would not make sense without description. What’s more, the company feels the opening-ceremony telecast is enjoyed by families who gather together, making it a natural for the boob-tube.
At this point, details regarding the big event are scarce, which shouldn't surprise anyone.
The element of surprise is guarded like a prized jewel leading up to the Opening Ceremonies, which is really a breath of fresh air in this day and age when everything is available at the push of a button online.
We do know, however, that Fisht Olympic Stadium will be a phenomenal venue to host the shindig. Construction was completed on the brand-new stadium in 2013. It holds 40,000 people, according to Sochi2014.com, which also describes the unique structure:
For the first time in the construction of a large-scale structure, a translucent polycarbonate roof will be used which will give the building an appearance of snowy peaks, ensuring it sits in harmony with the landscape of the Imeretinskaya Valley and the Caucasus Mountains.
Rehearsals have been ongoing for months. City News Toronto recently detailed what little it could after one such rehearsal, noting the excessive amount of money the nation has already sunk into the highly anticipated affair:
Loud music and light displays could be heard and seen through the roof of the stadium as part of the rehearsals which lasted a little over two hours and ended in a crescendo of fireworks.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has spent more than $50 billion (US dollars) at the Olympic Games, a prestige project set to open with great fanfare on February 7.
Reporter James Fielden was privileged to see one of the rehearsals and was impressed by the modern facility:
While rumors regarding the ceremonies are scarce, there are a few performers who have been highlighted as potential centerpieces. Among these are viola player Yuri Bashmet, conductor Valery Gergiev and pianist Denis Matsuev, as noted by Viktoria Ivanova of The Telegraph.
Still, nobody's talking about what the show will entail.
“For sure, I am participating in the Olympics," Matsuev said. "But how? I will not disclose secrets. Naturally, I will play the piano and root for our athletes.”
Given the amount of money, time and effort involved in this epic undertaking, you can be sure Sochi will be brilliant on Friday, Feb. 7 when the Opening Ceremonies commence at Fisht Olympic Stadium.
After that, it'll be time for the athletes to put the party behind them and focus on the upcoming competition, which is sure to be fierce.
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