Although there will be a few competitions starting on Feb. 6, the Sochi Olympics will not officially begin until the end of the opening ceremony on Feb. 7.
The traditional event is a showcase of the hosting city as the Russian organizers will do their best to put on a memorable performance. Additionally, the parade of nations and lighting of the torch are two features that connect these games to every other one before it.
Fans will be watching this event from around the world, truly uniting everyone for this multi-week event. Here is a look at how to view it in the United States, which will only be shown on delay in prime time on NBC.
What: 2014 Olympic Opening Ceremony
When: Friday, Feb. 7 at 11 a.m. ET
Where: Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, Russia
TV: NBC, 7:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Live Extra
There are plenty of things to get excited about during the opening ceremony, but the main part of the show is the performance set up by the hosts. Beijing certainly set the bar high in 2008, and everyone has been trying to top that since.
Sochi will put on a display of Russian history in an event called "Welcome to Sochi" that features over 3,000 performers. Lukas I. Alpert of The Wall Street Journal provides a description of the ceremony:
A fleet of ships under the command of Peter the Great, scenes recreated from Nikolai Gogol’s masterwork “Dead Souls” and a variety of Russian fairy tales will be part of a special effects-laden event that will also feature plenty of ice, reports Russian newspaper Izvestia.
Ivan Nechepurenko of The Moscow Times also added what he saw at the rehearsal:
In the ceremony, Russia's biggest points of pride — classical music, ballet, the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russian avant-garde art and architecture — get their own special features.
These symbols are then given a modern interpretation with palpitating music and prolific lighting, one of the focuses of the spectacle.
The ceremony also included a long DJ set featuring popular Russian songs, including by Putin's favorite band, Lube.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will be in attendance, although many other high-level officials around the world are skipping the event, according to Shaun Walker of The Guardian.
United States President Barack Obama planned to send Billie Jean King as a representative, but she was forced to back out to take care of her sick mother. Melissa Murphy of the Associated Press (via ABC News) reports that former U.S. hockey player Caitlin Cahow will take her place alongside Brian Boitano.
The good news is that the United States will be well-represented at the ceremony by a large contingent of athletes trying to take home gold. They will all be wearing these outfits made by Ralph Lauren, courtesy of figure skater Charlie White:
Jay Busbee of Yahoo! also reported that the American flag will be held by Todd Lodwick during the parade of nations. Lodwick is a Nordic combined skier and will be competing in his sixth games.
This ceremony will then end with the lighting of the Olympic torch, a tradition that dates back to the ancient competition in Greece. This symbolic moment signifies the official start to the games.
Although viewers in the United States will be unable to see the action live, NBC will show the opening ceremony in its entirety in prime time.
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