Olympic Opening Ceremony 2014: Highlighting Friday's Best Moments in Sochi

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Olympic Opening Ceremony 2014: Highlighting Friday's Best Moments in Sochi
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

The opening ceremony of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi has concluded. Russia put on a fantastic spectacle featuring plenty of performances that showcased the history of the country, along with dazzling lighting displays and awe-inspiring fireworks.

From the opening of the ceremony, which featured a fireworks display above Fisht Olympic Stadium, to the closing of the ceremony, highlighted by the lighting of the Olympic flame, this event was absolutely a sight to behold.

Now that the Olympic Games are finally underway, let's take a look back and reminisce over some of the most memorable highlights from Friday.

 

Floating Islands

Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press
Ivan Sekretarev/Associated Press

The opening ceremony kicked off with a mesmerizing look at a group of floating islands that represented different landscapes of Russia. A fantastic lighting display mixed with indoor snow started the event off with a bang.

 

Russian National Anthem

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

During the country's national anthem, there were people on the stage donning red, white and blue uniforms to signify the nation's colors. These glowing suits, along with a vast amount of colored lights, lit up the entire stadium.

Michelle Kauffman of the Miami Herald tweeted a fantastic picture of the spectacle:

 

Parade of Athletes

Vadim Ghirda/Associated Press

Possibly the highlight of the opening ceremony, the parade of athletes allows fans of each country in attendance to attempt to pick out their favorite athletes as they walk across the floor.

The stadium lit up as the crowd went into an uproar as Team Russia entered. The Olympics official Twitter account captured the athletes' march:

 

The Performances

Vadim Ghirda/Associated Press

Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated tweeted a picture of the dream-like mascots that took center stage:

 

Russian history was on full display, as shown by this tweet from Jason Blevins of the Denver Post:

 

Speeches

Jung Yeon-je/Associated Press

International Olympics Committee president Thomas Bach and head of the Sochi Organizing Committee Dmitry Chernyshenko gave speeches during the opening ceremony. Chernyshenko got the crowd fired up as he spoke of the pride he has for Russia.

Angela Charlton and Nataliya Vasilyeva of the Associated Press (h/t the Huffington Post) recorded Chernyshenko's statement. He said, "We're now at the heart of that dream that became reality. The Games in Sochi are our chance to show the whole world the best of what Russia is proud of. Our hospitality, our achievements, our Russia!"

 

Lighting of the Olympic Flame

Bernat Armangue/Associated Press

To close out the ceremony, it's customary for athletes to pass along the torch to ultimately light the Olympic flame. Vladislav Tretiak and Irina Rodnina had the privilege of lighting the cauldron. Once lit, the ceremony concluded with a dramatic fireworks display.

It was truly an opening ceremony to remember. The organizers at Sochi did a fantastic job all the way around and should be applauded for their efforts.

If the actual Olympic Games are anywhere near as exciting as the opening ceremony was, we are in for quite a treat. 

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