The breathtaking razzmatazz of the grand Sochi Olympic Opening Ceremony will surely leave a print in everybody's mind. Even if all the pomp and pageantries were nothing short of expected, many of the dazzling performances coupled with glittering lights, thrilling effects, and gripping musical actions left the frenzied onlookers wanting for more.
Everything that was showcased with brilliant effects and preparations merits a mention, right from the way a little girl's 'flying' entrance becomes the charmer of the show to the way the Russian civilization emerges from rich history displayed in astounding visual effects. Let's take a look at the top 10 best moments of the day:
1. Little Girl Floats in Sky
Russians knew that 'well begun is half done'. There could have been no better way to gain attention than to let a little girl be the charmer.
The lavish pomp opened with a dream sequence of the 11-year-old, who imagined all of the letters in the Russian alphabet recalling a Russian artist, writer or a landmark with each letter.
The girl then flew into the air and floated over a celestial and divine dreamland, depicting beautiful Russian landscapes. The girl kept appearing in different parts of the performance later into the celebration.
2. Human Flag Moment
This has been one of the defining moments of the organizing committee's creativity. This happened after the audiences and guests were asked to rise for the national anthem.
While an actual Russian flag was being raised as the anthem was sung, a group of performers wearing glittering red, blue and white dresses emerged out of nowhere and turned themselves into a waving Russian flag. The way the people were choreographed for synchronized movements to make it look like an actual flag swaying in the wind (from aerial view) was simply mind-blowing.
Human version of Russian flag during anthem pic.twitter.com/zEJwzu0GEY
— Philip Hersh (@olyphil) February 7, 2014
It was then the turn for the parades of the participating members from different countries - one of most anticipated moments of the night. Although the countries entered in alphabetical order, Greece was the first (Olympics originated there) and Russia was the last to come (as the host country).
Each country members and flag bearers were gleefully welcomed by the roaring crowd. The biggest team was Canadian with more than 200 participants.
4. Official Mascots, Real Charmers
The 40,000 people in the massive Fisht Stadium were heard roaring with perhaps the loudest noise when the three official mascots representing the Sochi Olympics appeared.
The cute looking leopard, hare and a polar bear emerged in the stadium skating and performed in a dazzling musical feat, while they waved their hands to the noisy audience.
5. History Showcased, Relived
In all effects, if there was one important thing Russia wanted to do in that fateful night was to reinvent the glorious Russian history and bring it back to reality. This was made possible through the display of everything from the multicolor onion domes of St. Basil's Cathedral bobbling in the air and the literary references to Gogol, Tolstoy and Nobokov in dramatic representations.
The celebration of czarist military might , images of Stalinist skyscrapers and performances by Russia's famed ballerinas, musicians and singers only made Russian aspirations come true on a night they were determined to show the world who they really were.
6. Giant Horses (Troika) Bringing Forth the Russian Civilization
One of the best way to express true Russian sentiments was to showcase the flying Troika, the white horses - one of the most symbolic cultural icons of the country. The image of flying Troika gained more importance after it was featured in a scene of Nikolai Gogol's novel 'Dead Souls' where a 'troika-bird' rides through the vast expanses of Russia.
The flying troika appeared pulling the Sun, bringing in a symbolic representation of the emergence of the Russian civilization in all its glory and pride.
7. Olympic Rings (Only four blooms)
If it wasn't for a technical glitch that led to the failure of one of the Olympic rings to be bloomed from a flowery glittering object (perhaps meant to symbolise snowflakes), this would have been another breath-taking moment. But this might now be remembered more for the "ring malfunction" than for the grand spectacle it provided.
8. Speeches, National Anthems
The speeches made by Sochi Olympic Organizing Committee President Dmitry Chernyshenko and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach will be remembered not just for the various languages they spoke in (Russian, English, French), but also for the veiled reference they made to the controversies surrounding Russia at the moment.
"Our games will be yours," Chernyshenko said. "All of yours. Because when we come together in all our diversity, it is the Olympic Games that unite us." His translation of his own Russian speech into English and then into French were more than welcome for the audience.
Then came Bach.
"The Olympic Games are a sports festival embracing human diversity in great unity," he said. "Therefore I say to the political leaders of the world...Please respect their Olympic message of goodwill, of tolerance, of excellence and of peace." He was widely understood to be referring to the gay-rights issues in Russia.
Russian President then declared open, the Winter Olympic Games for 2014 shouting over a microphone placed where he was present - along with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
The national anthem of the Olympics were then sung by a classical singer along with a choir.
9. Lighting of Olympic Torch
After much rumors and speculations of who would finally light the Olympic flame, it was revealed that the honors were for Vladislav Tretiak and Irina Rodnina. Tretiak is considered to be one of the greatest players in Soviet Union's megalithic hockey teams and Rodnina won three gold medals in pairs skating.
Tennis star Maria Sharapova joined wrestler Alexander Karelin and pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva in the last leg of the torch run in the outdoor stadium.
Before Tretiak and Rodnina lit the flame, Alina Kabayeva was last to get the torch. Kabyeva is rumored to be romantically linked with the Russian president.
10. Amazing Fireworks
The event couldn't have started or ended without a great spectacle of fireworks that illuminated the entire area.
A barrage of colorful fireworks shot into the night sky numerous times, most notably during the start and end. When President Putin uttered the sentence declaring the Games open, another torrent of red-white-and-blue fireworks immediately illuminated the night. Most notable display was after the torch bearer lit up the flame. The whole sky was seen revealing itself in a colorful panorama.
And that was when Russians also seemed to know, "All's well that ends well!"