Athletes and organisers hail “ground-breaking” Opening Ceremony
As the first full day of sporting events got under way, and the first Olympic medals of Sochi 2014 were decided, Games organisers and athletes alike took time to pay tribute to the spectacular Opening Ceremony which gave the 2014 Olympic Winter Games a rousing start on Friday evening.
“It really was incredible, great, overwhelming, exciting, and I am very proud of what we have done yesterday evening,” said Sochi 2014 President Dmitry Chernyshenko.
Athletes expressing their delight at the three-hour spectacle, which took the audience on a breathtaking journey through Russian history and culture, included Finnish ice hockey player Lasse Kukkonen, who said: "It's something you remember all of your life.”
Slovenian Alpine skier Tina Maze was also impressed.
"It's something special for me,” she said. “It means a lot and it's a wonderful experience.”
American figure skater Gracie Gold, meanwhile, gave the ceremony full marks.
"It's like 100 out of 10,” she said.
Sochi 2014 ceremonies producer Konstantin Ernst also hailed what he called a “ground-breaking” Opening Ceremony.
"We wanted to show Russia from a different perspective,” he said. "Most people did not expect such a sophisticated show from us and I do not want to boast or praise us, but this is a really ground-breaking opening ceremony."
Now, fans in Sochi and those watching around the world will be hoping the athletes’ performances over the next 16 days live up to the spectacular opening to the Games.