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Opening ceremony causes controversy

by CAROLINE GAVURA Section Editor

The opening ceremony to the 22nd Winter Olympics, held on February 7, was both beautiful and a little awkward.

The Fisht Olympic Stadium, which seats 40,000 people, is the center of Olympic Park in Sochi and the location for the ceremony. The stadium was designed to show off Russia’s gorgeous mountain peaks in the north, and the sea in the south.

Lights played a huge role in the ceremony, appearing in all of the performances throughout the night, including the fireworks that were set off before the show.

Dancers in roller skates wore silver suits covered in string lights and skated around the stadium underneath giant wire sculptures that represented each of the sports that would be taking place during the Olympics.

Women in white gowns twirled underneath a black light, wearing intricate hats made of neon light strips which swirled around them as they danced.

The history of Russia and Communism were shown through a performance where hundreds of dancers wore the same outfit and paraded under huge statues of a sickle and a hammer – Soviet symbols.

“It was amazing how they represented Russia in all of their performances. The lights were stunning and it was clear why the Olympics in Sochi is costing Russia billions of dollars,” said Cori Haider.

Russia’s Maria Sharapova, a professional tennis player and Russia’s best player, carried the Olympic torch during the ceremony.

One memorable moment of the night was when dancing children dressed up as colorful Russian dolls sang around blown-up Onion domes, which is a popular style of architecture in Russia.

In what looked like an ode to the Russian Revolution, dancers in red suits danced and spun on large carts and wheels made of different sized gears in one performance.

The Americans arrived clad in Polo Ralph Lauren’s custom ugly-Christmas sweater type outfits, which screamed “‘Murica”. While there was a lot of American pride during the ceremony, there was also some controversy.

During a performance by the Voices of Russia, five large snowflake light fixtures were hung from the ceiling and were supposed to expand to form the iconic Olympic rings. One-by-one, each of the rings expanded, but the last ring would not expand.

“It was really weird when the…ring didn’t expand. I was sort of shocked,” said sophomore Nicole Anash.

This adds to the controversy surrounding the feud between the United States and Russia. There have been multiple threats of terrorist attacks, many specifically targeting Americans, despite the strict security at the Olympic Park.

Many of the American competing athletes told their loved ones to stay home rather than watch them perform as a caution. Men who are competing were told not to accept drinks or food from anyone while women were advised to not leave their rooms at all. Openly gay athletes have to be discrete because of Russia’s strict anti-gay attitude.

What did you think of the opening ceremony?

#CarolineGavura #Russia #Sochi #winterolympics

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