The 2014 Olympic opening ceremony has already taken place in Russia but won't be aired in the United States until later Friday night.
The event is not just the kickoff to the Olympics. Rather, it's a chance for Russia to present itself to the world, both as a culture and as individuals. Like Beijing in 2008, this is a chance for Russia to join the world's stage in a big way. As such, the event will likely feature showcases of the country's history and people.
We won't know too much until the event is aired in the U.S., so the ceremony should be quite exciting.
Below, we'll give you key U.S. viewing info, including the start time for this epic event, followed by a preview of what to expect.
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
The Fisht Olympic Stadium is a 40,000-seat arena near some of the housing for the athletes:
Inside the arena, the first main program will be a display of Russian history, entitled "Welcome to Sochi." Lukas I. Alpert of The Wall Street Journal has provided a description of this part of the event:
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.
This part of the event will be directed by Daniel Ezralow, according to People. Ezralow directed Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark.
Beyond that, we know that Russian President Vladimir Putin will be at the event, according to Shaun Walker of The Guardian. U.S. President Barack Obama will not be there, but Melissa Murphy of the Associated Press (via ABC News) reports that Caitlin Cahow and Brian Boitano will represent the country.
In terms of performances, we know that Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, violist Yuri Bashmet and ballerina Ulyana Lopatkina will be there, according to WQXR.
Other than that, though, most of the event remains under wraps. For example, we don't know who will light the Olympic flame. This only adds to the intrigue.
That means all eyes will be on NBC's coverage. And a main feature of the coverage will be the Parade of Nations.
U.S. Nordic Combined athlete Todd Lodwick will be holding the flag for his country, as the U.S. ski team official Twitter page notes:
Lodwick, who won a silver medal in the Team Nordic Combined in 2010 and finished fourth that year in the individual event, will be competing in his sixth Winter Olympics.
The Parade of Nations is always an interesting and exciting part of the ceremony, showcasing the wide variety of athletes that are competing. Here is what the U.S. team will be wearing, via ice dancer Charlie White's Twitter page:
The opening ceremony will prove to be must-see TV. And with so many ways to watch it, it's easier than ever to catch a glimpse. Make sure to check it out.