The opening ceremony to kick off the Olympic Games has grown in magnitude each year, and the 2014 kickoff spectacle to effectively start the 2014 Winter Games figures to be the most grandiose event yet.
The globe will watch as Sochi, Russia, goes all out to honor its rich history and extend a semblance of hospitality to the world's best competitors on Friday, Feb. 7.
Considering the Russian government has spent a reported $51 billion on construction and preparation for the event, it is one fans around the world would be wise to catch live, if possible. For the American audience looking for a live stream of the event, the only option is to wait until the NBC broadcast later in the night.
What: 2014 Olympic Opening Ceremony
When: Friday, Feb. 7 at 11 a.m. ET (8 p.m. Sochi Time)
Where: Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, Russia
TV: NBC, 7:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: BBC
That reported $51 billion has surely gone to good use. A report from RIA Novosti has brief details of what the top-secret show has in store for viewers and those in attendance:
We were told that they had kept some secrets from us, said one Olympic Park worker who declined to give her name, but judging by the rehearsal there will definitely be a run-through of Russian history.
The venue itself is an impressive structure and seats 40,000 people. BBC Sports' David Bond gave fans a closer look:
My first proper look at Olympic Park - here's Fisht Stadium. Venue for opening ceremony. To be used for WC2018 after pic.twitter.com/Fa3tpgzwQQ— David Bond (@DavidBondBBC) February 5, 2014
Of course, the focal point of the show will be the parade of athletes, where all competitors will be together in the same venue for the first time as nations send a flag bearer to represent their country with the world watching.
Other complementary pieces, such as the traditional speeches, will take place. President of the Sochi 2014 Olympic organizing committee Dmitry Chernyshenko will give a speech, as will Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, before Russian President Vladimir Putin announces the official start to the Games.
Performances from celebrities will highlight the night, although the "who" is a bit of a mystery at this point—with the only surefire bet being that Russia will tout its own talent, as is the custom.
According to Christina Vinson of TasteOfCountry.com, Danielle Bradbery, who won season four of the The Voice, has been linked to the event's promotional campaign after she designed a song with it in mind:
The pop band t.a.T.u may make an appearance as well after a social media gaffe, according to The Wall Street Journal. of
To round out the prestigious event, the Olympic torch will proceed to symbolize the beginning of the competition. It remains unknown who will do the honors, but a report by Yahoo! Sports' Jay Busbee suggests it may be Putin's alleged girlfriend, Alina Kabayeva, who won gold in 2004 in Olympic rhythmic gymnastics.
Either way, the spectacle for Sochi set to unfold has been in the making for years with a jaw-dropping amount of capital invested to ensure the global event is a resounding success.
Go in expecting nothing less.