The XXII Olympic Winter Games will open in Sochi on Friday, February 7. The opening ceremony will begin at Sochi’s Fisht Stadium at 20:14 Moscow time (16:14 GMT). The Olympic flag with five rings symbolising the unity of athletes around the world will be hoisted and the Olympic flame will be lit.

The Olympic Relay that started on October 6, 2013 in Moscow passed from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok through the capitals of all 83 Russian regions and 2,900 towns during a 123-day race. Fourteen thousand people carried the torch over a distance of more than 65,000 km. The Olympic torch was taken to the North Pole, to the bottom of Lake Baikal, to the International Space Station (ISS) and to Mount Elbrus.

The organisers keep the details of the opening ceremony secret and have disclosed only a tiny bit of information to President Vladimir Putin who inspected the Olympic facilities many times.

The biggest intrigue is who will actually lit the flame in the stadium cauldron. Some say these may be one of the outstanding Soviet athletes such as Irina Rodnina, Vladislav Tretyak or Vyacheslav Fetisov.

By tradition, all Olympic teams will march around the stadium in the beginning. The Russian flag will be carried by bobsledder Alexander Zubkov.

The first to step on the stadium grounds with the national flag of Greece will be cross-country skier Panagiota Tsakiri, to be followed by other teams in French alphabetical order.

A total of 88 teams will compete in the Sochi Olympics, a record number in the history of Winter Olympic Games, with such “non-winter” countries making their debut as East Timor, Dominica, Zimbabwe, Malta, Paraguay, Togo, and Tonga.

Three thousand athletes and 3,000 members of delegations from 88 countries will participate in the Olympic Games to be held from February 7 to February 23, and 700 athletes and 700 members of delegations from more than 40 countries will participate in the Paralympic Games to take place from March 7 to March 16…see more

source: voice of russia