Olympic Torch Lighting 2014: What to Expect from International Extravaganza

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Olympic Torch Lighting 2014: What to Expect from International Extravaganza
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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

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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.

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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

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.

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.

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