Sochi Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony: Live Blog

The ceremony at Sochi's Fisht Stadium will reportedly be seen by 3 billion people worldwide. The epic spectacle could wash away many of the concerns and complaints that marked the early days of the games.

The large-scale pageantry of the Winter Olympics will be on display Friday, when the Opening Ceremony is held at Sochi, Russia. The ceremony at Fisht Stadium will be seen by 3 billion people worldwide, according to organizers.

We're following the event and will post updates and images from the ceremony here.

While security concerns have led to tens of thousands of police and military being positioned around the venues, and reporters have complained about conditions in Sochi, the epic spectacle that is the opening ceremony could wash away many of those worries. And it will also bring the athletes closer to competing in events they've been training for since the 2010 Vancouver Games.

The Opening Ceremony is virtually the only Olympic event that won't be streamed online in the U.S., a decision NBC made to bolster its primetime broadcast tonight. While we track Friday's event here, NPR's pop-culture blogger Linda Holmes will give us her take on the ceremonies later tonight over at Monkey See.

As the games begin, many observers believe three countries will vie for the most medals in Sochi: the United States, Norway, and Germany. But Canada also has an imposing team, and host Russia is intent on making its mark.

Here's some more background on these Winter Games:

Sochi By The Numbers

  • $51 billion budget (a record)
  • 17 days of competition
  • 6,000 athletes and team members
  • 85 countries represented
  • 98 medal events
  • 15 disciplines in 7 sports
  • 8 new ski and snowboarding events
  • First time in history women will vie for medals in the ski jump
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