Olympic Torch Lighting 2014: What to Expect from International Extravaganza

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2014

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 01:  The unlit Olympic torch stands infront of the Bolshoy Ice Dome prior to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in the Olympic Park Coastal Cluster on February 1, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

The lighting of the Olympic cauldron is one of sport's most iconic moments and, of course, will signal the beginning of this year's Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Russia raises its curtain to the world with the opening ceremony on Feb. 7, providing the nation with an excellent opportunity to showcase its history, famous achievements and sense of character.

As we gear up for the spectacle, here's what to expect:

 

A Welcome to the Olympic Stadium

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 05: A general view of Fisht Olympic Stadium ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Olympic Park on February 5, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

The Olympic Games are often remembered for breathtaking stadiums, arenas and facilities. While Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium and London's bowl design dominated summers gone by, the Sochi Winter Games also have a wonderful sporting arena to show off.

Known as the Fisht Olympic Stadium, Russia's centrepiece utilises "a translucent polycarbonate roof" to provide an illusion of snowy mountaintops in the distance, per the Winter Olympics website.

Of course, it sits between both the Imeretinskaya Valley and the Caucasus Mountains, suggesting very little illusion is needed to emphasis the country's natural chill.

One thing's for sure; with the freezing whites of snow amplified by the stadium's design, seeing that cauldron set ablaze will provide a memorable contrast for supporters from across the globe—and might warm arena attendees up, too.

 

The Culmination of this Year's Torch Relay

Head on over to the official tracker of this year's torch relay. Eagle-eyed viewers will spot one hugely exciting location is yet to be visited. That's right, the famous flame is waiting in Sochi, ready to go.

Sochi is the 136th Russian location to welcome the light. As with everything else surrounding the games, a local spin has been added to the physical torch.

Torchbearers handle a red design that aims to highlight the "contrasts of Russia," while also reminding Russians of "fairy-tales and legends about the Firebird" that were taught during childhood, according to the relay's "About Our Torch" page.

With 14,000 torchbearers handling the flame throughout its treacherous journey, its arrival to the stadium is the final step of a major process. Citizen by citizen, the moment has gotten closer. With one well-placed swoop, the games will open.

 

Famous Faces Aplenty

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 05:  Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the Coastal Cluster Olympic Village ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on February 5, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Any Olympic opening ceremony attracts vasts amounts of celebrities. Although many Western leaders have declined the opportunity to attend Sochi's grand welcome, per Shaun Walker of The Guardian, we can expect to see a plethora of recognisable faces.

Danielle Bradbery, winner of NBC's The Voice in 2013, may perform her single "My Day," which is the official soundtrack of the games.

HOUSTON - JUNE 05:  Danielle Bradbery from the NBC's 'The Voice' sings the national anthem before the Baltimore Orioles play the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on June 5, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Russian president Vladimir Putin is also expected to make an appearance, but don't bet on seeing him parachute out of an airplane like the Queen of England did at London 2012.

It's worth keeping an eye out for many of Russia's sports stars who perform away from Winter Olympic activities, including footballers, boxers and tennis players.

While we are still waiting to hear who will officially light the Olympic cauldron, expect a world-renowned name to initiate the beginning of this month's festivities.