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Volume 24 No. 136
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Ballet, Classical Music To Play Integral Role In Opening Ceremony

The Sochi Games today will begin in earnest with the Opening Ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium. SOCOG has kept the details of the event “as closely guarded as a state secret.” Organizers have been “running tests of its pyrotechnics, setting off nightly explosions that generate anticipation rather than apprehension” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/7). Sochi will not be able to "compete with the cinematic splendor" of the London Games or "the pyrotechnic extravaganza of Beijing, but then again, the Winter Games usually are more low-key" (AP, 2/6).

The ceremony will likely showcase Russia's “music and ballet history as well as its considerable lineup of famous composers and artists, from Tchaikovsky to Rachmaninoff and Tolstoy” (, 2/6). The Russian pop group tATu will also perform during the ceremony, “with a song about two schoolgirls in love” (AP, 2/6). Maria Sharapova, who spent her early childhood in Sochi, is “expected to participate” (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/7).

Meanwhile, there is speculation that former Russian rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabayeva is a candidate to light the Olympic cauldron “simply because she has been linked romantically” to Vladimir Putin. Another candidate is former hockey player Slava Fetisov (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/7).

Don’t forget to visit On The Ground for updates from Sochi.