Winter Olympics 2014: The Best and Worst Moments From the Sochi Opening Ceremonies

olympics-2014-opening-ceremonies-dwRollerskaters! A giant hammer and sickle! Tyrion Lannister!

It wasn’t a Friday-night fever dream, it was the opening ceremonies for the 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia — and it was a gigantic spectacle on par with the recent kick-offs in Beijing and London, albeit with a few hiccups.

RELATED | Heat Up the Sochi Games With TVLine’s Winter Olympics Bingo

We watched all four hours of NBC’s coverage in order to bring you the night’s best and worst moments, which included some eye-popping special effects, lots of exuberant athletes and at least one extended Intro to Cyrillic course. So click through the gallery below to see what caught our eye, then hit the comments with your own take on the pomp and circumstance.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Alex says:

    08 Beijing is the best. Period.

    • Ben says:

      London was pretty damn good.

    • I found the NBC crew to be disrespectful of the host country Russia ,
      The NBC crew at times new little or nothing of what aspects of the performance represented and they did not need to interject 1950’s American politics into the broadcast ,
      When it came to what the performance represented they could have stayed on the script provided by the Russians , and if they felt a need for a greater explanation of a certain period of history they could have made that available online ,,

      • Because … we need to stay “on script” when that script is provided by a discriminatory, homophobic, megalomaniac ruler? No thanks.

        • bluefairy says:

          What’s that have to do with it? There was nothing discriminatory or homophobic about the ceremony itself. Nobody said you should like Putin or agree with his views, but mocking the ceremony and saying off-script stuff that had absolutely nothing to do with what was going on at the ceremony was off-line. It just showed the presenters’ self-entitlement and sheer ignorance of things that are non-American. End of story.

          • Julie says:

            All they did was point out the fact that the version of the period depicted in the ceremony was a bit “idealized” and they were right. The commentator lived in Russia during this period and had a bit of first hand knowledge of the Soviet propaganda machine.

          • Evan says:

            That’s like having the Olympics in Germany and watching them completely ignore the years 1939 – 1945 as if nothing important happened. Russia wants to pretend they didn’t have evil moments that’s one thing. The rest of the world doesn’t have to. We have to keep history accurate when others choose to distort it.

            And yes this includes our own.

        • Marko says:

          The cold war ended long time ago. Russians are not worse than anybody else, including US.

          • S. says:

            Tell yourself that if you must, but don’t expect everybody else to believe it. I don’t recall the US throwing a singer we had a problem with in prison either. I mean Justin Bieber roams free for God’s sake.

      • Julie says:

        The “script” was a little soft on depicting what actually happened during that period. The nbC commentators were just stating a fact. Since when do we need to tow Vladimir Putin’s line?

        • Joseph A says:

          It’s not that the NBC crew could not provide additional information , but they could have done it in such a fashion that it was less black and white from their perspective.

      • guest says:

        BS. NBC is american television, off course they cater to Americans. The idea that anyone would stay “on script” is ridiculous, especially coming from a country like Russia (along with others for that matter) If you want Russian commentators, watch russian TV.

    • Marko says:

      Yeah, the best winter Olympics.

  2. Yakov says:

    In soviet Russia, torch light you!

  3. Alichat says:

    I wish they’d shown us the Russian Police Choir singing ‘Get Lucky’. I really hate how NBC trims down the ceremony. It gets worse every Olympics.

  4. Joey says:

    Honestly I’d be shocked if Russia got to host the Olympics again before the year 2100.

  5. Safroniamay says:

    I liked it!

  6. Hmm says:

    Ever been to an art museum or watched a costume movie, TVLine? The “oddest headwear” is kokoshnik, a traditional Russian headdress, widely depicted in movies and tv shows covering world history. Quite embarrassing.

  7. andy j says:

    At least they showed all the countries. Its embarassing to see this twelve hours after the rest of the world. But I do love Mary Carillo. Still it would be nice to see this LIVE AND COMMERCIAL FREE. NBC, take your cues from KTLA’s Rose Parade coverage.

    • meresger says:

      ^ This. And what about ABC’s coverage of the Indy 500? They do side-by-side. I would be happy with that during the parade of nations. Just because they are live-streaming online doesn’t mean everyone has high speed access at any given time to just tune in. There’s no reason they can’t show it live on TV and then rebroadcast some things in primetime. If they’d shown it live, NBC might have actually gotten higher ratings than the Today Show! NBC’s Olympic coverage has stunk since their first go at it, and when it was announced they’d gotten rights until 202-something I resigned myself to many more series of poorly edited events and annoying human interest/history pieces. I haven’t truly enjoyed Olympics coverage since CBS, Lillehammer, and Dave’s mom! All I can say is that NBC had better not drop events to show mid-season promos like they dd for the Summer Olympics. Nothing says the Olympic spirit like a show about a monkey that gets canceled after a couple of episodes!

  8. Jill B says:

    Worst opening ceremony ever. Felt like I was watching a weird Russian version of Willy wonka on acid, in between the most depressing dream sequence. It was boring,and depressing for 90% of it Really lame IMO.Beijing was by far the best!

  9. anon says:

    Didn’t a recent opening Ceremony already do the little kid’s dream thing? Wasn’t that London’s two years ago?

    • Ben says:

      Sydney did it in 2000, and I think Beijing had something involving a small girl.

    • Ben says:

      Although, I don’t think it was just the girl who felt derivative. There were other aspects which felt derivative of London and Beijing. But all in all, I dunno how easy it is to come up with something completely new.

    • This little girl is probably braver than a lot of the athletes at the Olympics! You have to give credit where credit is due, The old adage about getting back on the horse if you get thrown was displayed very bravely by that little girl who did what a lot of adults would be terrified to do. I for one appreciated her performance even more after finding out about her accident and the fact that she kept right on practicing and rehearsing for this opening ceremony. Whether we like it or not, acknowledge it or not, most countries of the world have periods in their history that are less than honorable, including the USA, how each country decides to display that history is up to them and we should respect that even if we don’t agree with how they choose to represent that period in their history.

      • Ally Oop says:

        Of course Russia is going to gloss over the bad parts. The U.S. does the same thing–recall slavery, the decimation of the Native Americans, cold war acts against innocent Americans, extreme poverty in many areas of the country, etc. All nations have things they aren’t proud of but the Olympics opening ceremony is supposed to be a celebration of culture, history and the arts, not a funeral for all the things that weren’t good.

    • Alice says:

      A lot of it felt like a bigger, more tech heavy version of the London opening. The little girls was a Beijing thing- but the whole fairy-tale theme is a lot more like London than Beijing’s ceremonies. Some of the choreography during the “building” phase with all the red cogs and wheels was the exact same thing they used in London when they transitioned out of the pastoral period into the industrial. And the 20th century, running through all the music and period costumes- also London. Hey- if it ain’t broke, steal it. It looked great – I loved the ballet and that little girl was amazing.

  10. Jillian says:

    I love how Russia is anti-gay but yet they had their athletes walk out to a song by Tatu. The irony is incredible. It proves how completely incompetent Putin is.

    • Madeline says:

      Just to let you know, the girls from t.A.T.u. are not gays, they did it to draw attention and get more money.

      • Olivia says:

        You’re totally correct Madeline, but these girls are still known worldwide for this act. Airing their performance only on Russian TV is ironic because they could have used it as a (although hypocrite as hell) way to make themselves look slightly better. Like I said, it would be the epitome of hypocrisy but airing it wouldn’t have hurt anybody. Unlike their laws.

        Or maybe they booked them because they’re the only russian group to export themselves worldwide (hence being inevitable in Russia in terms of fame) but didn’t want to ackowledge the gay-friendly aspect to the rest of the world? IDK but either way it’s hella stupid.

        • Evan says:

          The rest of the world is too busy wondering how much the population of Siberia is going to increase after the Olympics based on how many medals Russia receives. And they just look at everything everyone from the country is doing as toeing the line out of fear.

      • Jillian says:

        Does that really matter? They’re a faux-lesbian group who regularly kiss during performances and the majority of their songs are about lesbian relationships. Either Russia was mocking the entire situation or they are really oblivious.

    • name_required says:

      Well, I guess it’s ok when it’s gals and not guys. Preferably gals who only do it for male attention and not some kind of evil feminists. Proves how much about “the children” it is and how much about what Vlad finds icky.

  11. Mika02 says:

    This was nice but I did love London’s touch lighting best.

  12. Ben says:

    I felt really sorry for them when one of the rings didn’t open. The ceremony had a few little glitches but all the rest were forgivable, that one was just really heartbreaking. The ceremony was definitely not one of the best we have had in recent years, but it still had plenty to like about it.

  13. Valentina says:

    My favourite part was the “hanging lighting guys” representing all the sports, quite wonderful in my opinion. I am Italian, watched ot live on Sky whi has the rights here. I even switched off the commentators, they were awful and kept talking over the music.

  14. BlacklisterNo.134 says:

    Why did NBC not have a Russian translator for the Russian speeches? They are getting a ton of money from the Olympics I am sure they could have hired a translator.

  15. DramaMomma says:

    Spot on about the American outfits! I think either Ralph Lauren has done a terrible misservice to the athletes or the U.S. Olympic body has ridiculous requirements of must have stars and stripes in several variations on one garment. It is quite embarrassing and just plays to the stereotypical view of the U.S.

    • Eurydice says:

      When I first saw the Olympic sweaters, I thought they were pretty hideous. But seeing them on a large stage, with all the athletes together in that giant arena, they looked fun and kind of sparkling. I guess it’s like theatrical costumes, which would look ridiculous for everyday wear.

      • Anna says:

        I agree. When seen all together I thought the starry sweaters looked great!

        I completely enjoyed the ceremonies; very beautiful. I thought the way the history of Russia was performed was very creative. Most countries have a dark past. Watching the revolutionary period was eerie and sad. And in the USA, we certainly can’t throw stones.
        I wasn’t planning on watching, but glad I did. I try to enjoy the Olympics in an apolitical way; naive, maybe, but I watch for the athletes. They work hard and deserve our support.

        Go team USA!

    • Saabgirlatx says:

      My biggest com

      • Saabgirlatx says:

        (Oops) complaint was the placement of the Polo logo, right at the neck. Very distracting having the brand that forward when it could be USA or something related to the team/games. It should be about the event, not the designer.

    • Jillian says:

      To be honest, I never really like any of the US outfits, summer or winter Olympics.

  16. azu says:

    Guys take it easy with the criticisms. It was a lovely and artfully done ceremony. This is a sporting event please let us all try to enjoy it. Without the many silly analysis.

    • Rex Mundi says:

      If you don’t want to see a “silly analysis”, don’t visit a site that routinely analyzes tv shows. Why should the Olympics be any different ?

    • Jillian says:

      Compared to Beijing, Vancouver, and London, this opening ceremony could not even hold a candle. While the athletes walking out through the maps was nice, it actually reminded me of the Hunger Games.

  17. Diane C says:

    Amusing that the only thing the media outlets (including online) can come up with so far is the Olympic Ring malfunction. The widespread reporting of it is ridiculous. And the hate tweeting by the same-o group of “television critics” has gotten old. Is there actually interest in this stuff or are they trying to one-up their peers? Regardless, I think it’s stupid and will be hitting the unfollow button. It’s totally obnoxious and makes them look stupid.

    • S. says:

      Wow you’re ridiculous. Screwing up the Olympic rings is a big oops. Everybody noticed. No way did Putin not have a big problem with it–I’d be concerned for whoever was responsible for making sure that worked. I don’t think they just got a verbal grumble. Have Russian ties, Diane? Sounds like you’re being defensive for some reason.

    • Jillian says:

      In my opinion, screwing up the Olympic rings is incredibly disrespectful whether it was an accident or not.

  18. windy4292 says:

    I’m Canadian and I think our malfunction at Vancouver in 2010 at the Opening ceremonies is a lot more of an embarrassment than the snowflake not opening (at least it was open by the end of their ceremony)..our commentators also wouldn’t shut up but I think our snowboarder through the Olympic rings was great!!! and I agree with “best James Bond villain impression” that made me laugh..LOL..

  19. Jerri says:

    It’s not Fischt Stadium, it’s First Stadium.

  20. Khalil says:

    The best moment was Maria Sharapova with the torch. Period.

  21. Roger says:

    Maria Sharapova with the torch. Hands down.

  22. Amanda says:

    I’m not a much of an Olympics fan, but I enjoyed this ceremony as much as all the others. Sad it has to start with a huge asterisk, though.

  23. Yandy says:

    The Russians did an amazing job with the opening of the 2014 Winter Olympics and I dare say it was better than Beijing and better than London.

  24. oberdelgado says:

    Get to know Jessika Jenson. #USA rep in #Sochi2014 at the #Olympics2014. Good luck Jessika.

  25. Katya says:

    I from Russia and would like to say that most of the commments are unjustified) And i’m pretty sure that to understand this opening ceremony it is necessary to know at least a little bit of russian history) But that is problem of ignorance)