The Sochi Games began Friday night at a 3-hour opening ceremony that presented centuries of Russian history and athletes from 87 nations, to the techno sounds of DJ Leonid Rudenko.
If you walked away with questions, you're probably not alone. Scroll down to fill in some of the blanks.
1. Did the Swiss team enter ahead of the Jamaicans and the Germans ahead of the Canadians?
Yes, and this was no mix-up. Countries entered in alphabetical order, according to the Cyrillic alphabet, which was introduced in an early video sequence that showed C was for Sputnik (Спу́тни) and H was for Nabokov (Набоков).
Greeks, founders of the Olympic Games, always enter first and the host nation enters last.
2. But the snowflake thing was a mistake, right?
Yes. Five giant snowflakes, suspended from the stadium ceiling, were supposed to transform into the Olympic rings, triggering an eruption of fireworks. Yet only four fully blossomed, botching the fireworks effect and leaving the remaining snowflake alone like a floating asterisk.
If you were watching television in Russia, however, you may not have known that there was any malfunction at all. According to The Associated Press
, Russian state TV used rehearsal footage to patch up the early mistake.
3. Did the Cayman Islands' team enter the stadium in shorts and flip flops?
4. Who were those crowned women in white go-go boots escorting teams into the stadium?
These women were supposed to represent the Snow Maiden, a classic figure in Russian fairytales. In some stories, she is the granddaughter of Ded Moroz, a Father Christmas of sorts. In others, she's a snow-made beauty who eventually melts.
5. What happened to Team India's flag?
No mistake here either. This year, three competitors who would have otherwise represented India, are competing under the Olympic flag. Their country's Olympic association is currently under an IOC ban for corruption
, leaving the trio Olympic-ly stateless. In these situations, however, athletes have the option of competing under the five-ring flag, which is what alpine skiers Himanshu Thakur and Nadeem Iqbal, as well as death-defying luger
Shiva Kesavan decided to do.
6. What's the story behind the name of the stadium?
Fisht Stadium—not Fish—is named after one of the peaks of the Caucasus Mountains. The stadiums' open sides provide a view of the mountain range where the skiing and snowboarding events are being held.
7. Why did the ceremony start at 8:14?
Because 8:14 p.m. can also be written as 20:14, which looks like 2014, which is the year of the Sochi Games.
8. Where was Obama?
President Barack Obama was back in Washington, though both he and the First Lady extended their good wishes
to Team USA. These Winter Games are the first since 2000 that the U.S. Olympic delegation does not include a president, vice president former president or first lady. Instead, the U.S. dispatched Ambassador Michael McFaul, presidential adviser Rob Nabors former Olympians Brian Boitano and Caitlin Cahow as well as former Homeland Security Secretary Janel Napolitano, who told the Washington Post
that despite its lack of any White House resident, the delegation was not "chopped liver."
Billie Jean King was included as well, but had to bow out
of her Sochi appearance to stay near her ailing mother. Her mother, Randy Moffitt, died Friday morning in Arizona at the age of 91.
9. Where can I watch it again?