The 2014 Winter Olympics opening ceremony from Sochi, Russia, is officially in the books.
Overall, the celebration of the arrival of the Winter Games and the extravagant cultural display was a success, with Russian officials sparing no expense to put on a memorable show for the entire planet to enjoy.
The star-studded event not only featured a plethora of elite athletes from around the globe but also a rare glimpse into Russian culture, old and new.
Below we'll highlight the most noteworthy moments from Feb. 7's opening ceremony.
*Spoiler alert: The opening ceremony will air on Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC for American audiences.
Celebration of Russia
Friday's opening ceremony honored the 3,000 participating athletes and their respective countries. But the opening ceremony was much more than a celebration of sport as Olympic officials made it their mission to showcase the country in the most positive light possible.
With music, dancing and art, the lengthy ceremony exhibited Russia's greatest achievements throughout history and also highlighted how far the country has come since the days of the Cold War.
The 600-year-old Sretensky Monastery Choi sang the National Anthem and numerous Russian heroes were honored as a young girl told the story of the country's prominent triumphs.
NBC Olympics' Andrew Catalon shows off the brilliant firework display that also captivated audiences in Sochi:
Fireworks in Sochi after the impressive Opening Ceremony: pic.twitter.com/DY0QcsNxBc— Andrew Catalon (@AndrewCatalon) February 7, 2014
As The Telegraph's Viktoria Ivanova points out, close to 40 million roubles (roughly $1.15 million) were spent on the opening ceremony festivities. And based on the incredible amount of capital and effort put into making the Olympics' marquee event a success, Russian officials must be proud of how it turned out.
Ceremony Stumbles, Recovers Quickly
While Friday's opening ceremony was without a doubt a success overall, the marquee event featured an embarrassing moment when one of the five Olympic rings failed to appear during complex display.
The Verge on Twitter breaks it down:
Considering all of the doubt, criticism and controversy surrounding the 2014 Winter Olympics leading up to Friday's opening ceremony, it wasn't at all surprising that the slight mishap led Sochi to become a punchline on Twitter and other social media websites.
Many, including Huw Barrett were quick to poke fun at the situation:
Although Olympic officials can't be pleased, they can take solace in the fact that past Winter Olympics hosts experienced similar mishaps with the torch lighting process.
Vladislav Tretiak, Irina Rodnina Light the Flame
Two Russian Olympic legends teamed up to signal the start of the Winter Games on Friday. Hockey great Vladislav Tretiak and former gymnastics superstar Irina Rodnina did the honors, lighting the Olympic flame to conclude the opening ceremony.
Mashable's Jim Roberts shares their proud moment:
But before the two three-time Olympic gold medalists could light the flame, they had to receive the torch. Four-time Grand Slam tennis champion and fellow Russian Maria Sharapova was the one responsible for jogging the torch into the arena:
Somewhat surprisingly, the flame-lighting process was smooth. In addition to providing the green light for the Games, the signature moment clearly brought a lot of pride to the host nation and the thousands of athletes in attendance.
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