Even if some are not interested in sport at all, most people catch at least a little of the opening ceremonies. It is almost always a spectacular display of all the best a country has to offer, how it sees itself, and more importantly how it stages that vision.
More than 2,000 performers were part of the Sochi 2014 opening ceremony held at the Fisht Olympic Stadium. Some 40,000 in the stands, mostly VIPs and international dignitaries. Millions more watching on television.
Much was made of the absence of world leaders like U.S. President Obama, Prime Ministers Harper of Canada and Cameron of Great Britain, and Chancellor Merkel of Germany.
They missed a really good show.
Russia threw a curveball to the world having its police choir sing Daft Punk's "Get Lucky."
And who was leading the dancing? Russia's faux-lesbian singing sensation couple Tatu. Remember them?
Who cares if it's a song from French artists, it's damn good. It's not like Russia is blooming with good music anyways. Classical music the exception of course.
This is a country who gave the world Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Shostakovich and Prokofiev, for example.
So now we're all wearing giant flashing medallions while the Interior Ministry sing "Get Lucky." In no way camp at all!
DJs are big in the Olympics ever since Ken IIshi of Japan tore it up in Nagano in 1998, Tiesto did an hour and a half set in Athens in 2004, and Deadmaus and Armin van Buren did gigs all over Vancouver in 2010. These guys know how to work a room and when the world is your stage -- well -- the groove is tantalizing.
A small technical glitch happened when a giant snowflake failed to open to create the third ring on the top row of the five-ring Olympic logo.
Hey, in Vancouver the cauldron was complicated and Catriona Le May Doan sat there waiting to light it but it never came. And Wayne Gretzky hitched a ride in the back of a pickup truck in the pouring rain to light the official Olympic torch which was then sealed off from the public by a big fence.
Not to worry.
And by the way the monitor in Vladimir Putin's VIP lounge showed all five rings working perfectly.
Hey, a lot of people are nervous about terrorist threats and the brains in the American security services really outdid themselves by warning the world to watch out for explosive Crest and Colgate. Now how are you going to get your kids to brush their teeth? The Russian press are having a field day with their outrage at how the Western press are portraying Russia.
Oh, and they're sick and tired of hearing about Pussy Riot too.
At the end of the day, we have two weeks of beautiful television pictures and sure-to-happen controversies surrounding judging calls or poor performances
And there will be spectacular ones as well.
And in Canada it's all going to hinge on hockey, but that's what the Russians are looking forward to as well.
And hockey no doubt will be the crown jewel of the Games, with a standard of play that is unequaled even in the playoffs.
So good on the Big Russian Bear and on with the Games!
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