Olympic Mascots Highlighted a Dazzling Opening Ceremony in Sochi

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIFebruary 8, 2014

The 2014 Winter Olympic games official mascots, the Leopard, the Polar Bear, and the Hare, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Lionel Bonaventure, Pool)
Lionel Bonaventure/Associated Press

There were many incredible sights and sounds during the 2014 Olympic opening ceremony in Sochi. Some of the biggest—and most talked-about—spectacles were the Olympic mascots.

Organizers of Sochi's opening ceremony decided to use three giant, stuffed-animal-like mascots, featuring a polar bear, a leopard and a hare. Some mascots in year's past were a little too over the top; however, the ones used in Sochi looked rather inviting.

Why did Sochi choose these three mascots for the 2014 Olympics? It's rather simple.

All three of these animals are indigenous to the country. Being that the opening ceremony features so many aspects of Russian culture and history, it was only fitting that the mascots represented the country in the same way.

There was one interesting tidbit of information released about the selection of the mascots for the 2014 Olympic Games. According to NBCOlympics.com, this was the first time in history that a hosting country voted on which mascots would be used.

Olympic organizers produced 10 candidates for this year's mascots, and the public was called upon to narrow it down to the three that were ultimately selected. Once the three were chosen, animated videos of the winners were released:

Twitter was full of reactions regarding the opening ceremony's three mascots.

Helene St. James, of The Detroit Free Press, was a big fan and tweeted this on Friday:

Ian Sager, of NBC News, was delighted to see the normalcy of this year's mascots:

"Playtime!" says a tweet regarding the mascots from NBC World News:

Sochi most definitely put on a dazzling display to open up the 2014 Olympics. The mascots just happened to be one of the many highlights for everyone watching. In fact, they were so well done, they deserve a couple more looks:

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07:  Olympic mascots the Hare, the Polar Bear and the Leopard wave during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty I
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07:  Olympic mascots the Hare, the Polar Bear and the Leopard wave during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07:  Olympic mascots the Polar Bear waves during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07:  Olympic mascots the Polar Bear and the Leopard wave during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

With the 2014 Olympic opening ceremony now in the rear view, it's time to focus on the tantalizing events that will be taking place over the next several weeks.

Rio de Janeiro is next on deck, as the city has been selected to host the 2016 Olympics. With any luck, they'll bring about some mascots with as much adoration as the ones used this year in Sochi.