The close countdown begins for the Sochi 2014. Even if one is not interested in the games, all eyes will be on the grand opening ceremony that is likely to be spectacular, given that the Sochi event has been the most expensive Olympic in history at $50 billion.
The last winter games were in Vancouver in 2010, and it was the second time the games were held on the Canadian soil. 2014's event will be the first time a Russian city is hosting the winter games.
History suggests that the opening ceremony would be the most spectacular event. From dazzling lights and colours, to sensational melodies; from musical performances to parades of member nations - there will be a lot of pomp and pageantry to expect.
The summer Olympics of Beiing 2008 and London 2012 had opening ceremonies with tough acts to follow and hence, pressure is now on Russia to do all it can to wow the viewers with one of most memorable shows.
Sochi organizers have kept the contents of the ceremony a closely guarded secret, so spectators can expect some surprises. But authorities have given a hint of what is in store by saying that almost 1,070 people will take part in the opening and closing ceremonies of the 22nd Olympic and 11th Paralympic Games to be held later.
Conductors, singers, theater actors, ballet dancers, directors, musicians, students of Russia's leading choreographic schools and circus performers will take part in the ceremonies, which will cost the Russian government 40 million rubles (1.1 million dollars).
When and where is the Event?
The big opening ceremony will take place at Sochi's Fisht Olympic Stadium on Feb 7, 8 pm (Sochi Time), 11 am EST. It will be shown in the US on NBC at 7:30 pm EST, but will not be streamed live online.
The stadium, which cost $780 million to build, has a capacity of 40,000 spectators and has a roof that can change colors and draw different patterns.
In Canada, CBC will broadcast the coverage starting with a pre-show at 10 am ET. Canadians can aso check olympics.cbc.ca for live feeds.
In Russia, the organizers have created various Live Sites to watch the celebration from different cities. Check the list here.
What to Expect
Although the format has been kept under wraps, there are some obvious activities to expect in the opening ceremony:
Celebrities to Watch out for:
It is logical, as Bleacher Report notes, to expect the appearance by singer Danielle Bradbery as her song "My Day" is the theme song for the event. The 17-year-old star from League City, Tex., won the singing reality show "The Voice" in 2013.
Yuri Bahmet, Valery Gergiev and Dannis Matsuev
It is customary to have local artists display their talents in such events. Local orchestral musicians Yuri Bahmet, Valery Gergiec and Denis Matsuev have been linked to the opening ceremonies by The Telegraph and The Moscow Times.
The Parade of Athletes
Participating member nations will send flag bearers, along with the athletes into the stadium in order to represent their nations. Although the nations will enter alphabetically, Greece will be first (Olympics originated there) and the last nation will be Russia (as the host country).
The Olympic Flame
The lighting of the Olmpic Flame is the signature moment of any Olympic Opening Ceremony. After the torch is passed from one athlete to the next, the final athlete will light the cauldron to symbolize the official beginning of the competition.
It is obvious that the OCOG President Demitry Chernyshenko and the International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach will deliver a speech each. Russian President Vladimir Putting, who has assured top class security for the event, will then gesture the start of the much-awaited Games.