Olympics Opening Ceremony 2014: Breaking Down the Format in SochiFebruary 6, 2014
The Russian government has spent a reported $51 billion on the Sochi Games, so those who tune in to see the Opening Ceremony should expect a grandiose production.
During the 2012 London Summer Olympics, the United Kingdom may have set the standard for opening ceremonies, but the Russians are known for their pageantry and superlative showmanship for major events.
Want to see how the Sochi Games Opening Ceremony matches up with the best in history? Here's how you can watch.
When: Friday, Feb. 7, at 7:30 p.m. EST
Where: Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia
Components of the Ceremony
The Parade of Nations
The first event at the Opening Ceremony is the Parade of Athletes.
This is special because it's the first time all the best athletes from around the world share the same venue. Once the events commence, athletes will go to the arenas where their competitions will be held, and potentially interact in the Olympic Village.
The exclusivity of the group is what makes this an awesome sight.
The parade is also a way to pay homage to Greece, the first-ever host country for an Olympic Games. Greece will enter first and Russia will enter last as the current host.
President of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Organizing Committee Dmitry Chernyshenko, Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach and Russian President Vladimir Putin will all address the crowd of 40,000-plus and the millions on television.
They will collectively welcome the world to their country and the events.
The Glamor and Glitz
We don't know where every piece of the puzzle will fall in the Opening Ceremony, but ABC News' Matt Gutman and Sabrina Parise tell us we should expect plenty of fireworks:
In the next day, all eyes will be on the opening ceremonies at the Fisht Olympic Stadium. Some 40,000 spectators will be watching from the stands – and details about the ceremony, which is reportedly costing millions of dollars, remain hush-hush.
There will be fireworks – lots of them, matching the display seen following a Saturday rehearsal for the opening ceremonies.
The images that have come from just the preliminary events have been impressive. The anticipation for the actual ceremony is building.
Lighting the Olympic Flame
Finally, the Olympic torch is carried by a number of athletes until the cauldron is lit to symbolize the beginning of competition, though technically, the games began on Thursday, Feb. 6.
Usually, the honor of lighting the cauldron goes to a prominent athlete from the host country.
Back in 1996, Muhammad Ali lit the cauldron when the Summer Olympics took place in Atlanta, Ga.
The person lighting the cauldron in Sochi hasn't been revealed, but there is some speculation that it could be Alina Kabayeva, the 2004 Olympic rhythmic gymnastics gold medalist.
There is a twist to this story.
Kabayeva is rumored to be the girlfriend of Putin. If she is chosen, the Russian president may face allegations of favoritism. Per Jay Busbee of Yahoo! Sports, Putin has indicated the matter isn't his decision.
Putin said: "We have many outstanding sportspeople who are significant and known in the whole world and I am not going to interfere in this process."
No matter who lights the flame, we should be in for a memorable Olympic experience.