Breitbart News will provide live updates on NBC’s broadcast of the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Sochi, Russia.
11:31 PM EST: EZRA DULIS–The Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremony rates the Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremony: FOUR OUT OF FIVE OLYMPIC RINGS.
11:29 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–This sums up the Opening Ceremony:
The 2014 Olympics brought to you by Interpretive Revisionist Revolution and State Approved Textbooks. #Sochi2014
— Michelle Ray (@GaltsGirl) February 8, 2014
11:18 PM EST: DANIEL FLYNN–The computer animation and recreation of the universe on the ceiling dazzled–a top notch show. But I wonder to what extent we just watched the national equivalent of a rock star stuffing a sock in his trousers. The opening ceremonies were Russia shouting to all the world, “Look how backward we aren’t! Look how advanced we are!”
Khrushchev put a man in space. Putin put the winter games in a summer resort. Sochi provided a magnificent spectacle, but like all showoffs, there’s some underlying psychological reason for the theatrics. Friday night’s overdone opening was a nation advertising its insecurity complex.
11:15 PM EST: Floor-projected Olympic rings have better luck than the real ones. Hologram Tupac not available for comment.
11:13 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–Run to the Atari!!
11:11 PM EST: Olympic flame goes from Maria Sharapova to pole-vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, gymnast Alina Kabaeva, figure skater Irina Rodnina, wrestler Alexander Karelin, and hockey goalie Vladislav Tretiak. Rodnina and Tretiak light the torch together.
11:03 PM EST: EZRA DULIS–What, exactly, is the connection to Russia for Daft Punk’s Tron soundtrack?
11:02 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–Famous opera singer Anna Netrebko performed the Olympic anthem. She did a fantastic job and her dress was GORGEOUS. Breathtaking.
— Anna Netrebko (@AnnaNetrebko) February 7, 2014
10:48 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–I’m not the only one!
— fulana del cual (@lagryfa) February 8, 2014
This looks like the jellies exhibit at the Shedd. #Sochi2014
— Kelly (@KellyOB1977) February 8, 2014
— Claire Fromme (@frommecl) February 8, 2014
— J. Merle (@JasonMyDreams) February 8, 2014
— Julie (@Jborshak) February 8, 2014
10:46 PM EST: EZRA DULIS–How happy must these ballet dancers be that the lighting lets them cheat and spin on their flat feet?
10:45 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–Swan Lake. But they look like jellyfish…
10:44 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–Daniel – I bet Putin wants to return to the Soviet era. He is showing his true colors with the way he bullies former Soviet states, especially Ukraine. He wants them back.
10:43 PM EST: DANIEL FLYNN–The message of the opening ceremonies? Sport is just a massive prop for one long national infomercial. Athletes don’t belong in the seats watching. Let the games begin, already!
10:41 PM EST: EZRA DULIS–IOCC guy earns a boo with his line touting respect for diversity. Would it kill NBC to put up some lower thirds with his name?
10:39 PM EST: DANIEL FLYNN–The hammer and sickle is a massive floating insult to the athletes from Poland, Romania, Hungary, and other nations once trapped behind the Iron Curtain. “Putin is saying, ‘It’s now okay to be nostalgic about these times,'” reports NBC’s David Remnick. It’s strange but telling that Putin would dwell on the Soviet era but jump over Yeltsin. He didn’t learn the lesson of the twentieth century.
10:36 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–THAT’S IT? That’s all the fall of the Soviet Union receives? The girl floating in the air with a red balloon represents the fall of Communism. It represents quite possibly the biggest fall in modern history.
I’m not shocked.
10:35 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–NBC announcer just said Putin reviews the textbooks. No wonder this is all happy-go-lucky. Putin was a KGB agent during the Cold War.
This is propaganda. This is how you witness revisionist revolution.
10:31 PM EST: Creepy little girl returns for one last swoop over the stadium. She’s grabbing at a big red balloon whose wire hookups look like tiny spiders all around its circumference.
10:29 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–WOW. WOW. They are making the Stalin era seem a little cheerful, eh?
As Communism symbols are above them the people are shown in white. Clean. They’re smiling. My husband is singing “Happy Days” because that’s what it reminds him of.
Those were not happy days in Russia.
10:28 PM EST: DANIEL FLYNN–NBC announcer calls Soviet era “clearly the touchiest period of this program” as a stadium floor bathed in red features humans as cogs in a giant machine. I actually think they did a good job artistically of capturing the inhumane and unrealistic outlook of Communism: man as machine. Its tough to do it tastefully–imagine the Germans attempting a kitsch recreation of the Third Reich–but if you’re trying to retell a nation’s history it’s hard to skip over this part.
10:27 PM EST: EZRA DULIS–That big black boat that just crossed the stage looked even more 3-D than the sailboat!
Wait, that was a car?
10:26 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–Weird. None of these workers are starving, being beaten or shot if they do not complete their work. Not a realistic show of the Russian Revolution.
10:25 PM EST: TONY LEE–The opening ceremony made me think of Paul Bushkovitch’s book on Peter the Great (did not know much about him until I read it). And as Mary Chastain can attest, I’m now looking forward to the second season of “The Americans” on FX even more.
2,999 Russians took part in the Opening Ceremony. 10,000+ auditioned:
— WIS News 10 (@wis10) February 8, 2014
10:24 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–Now it’s time for the Russian Revolution. Yay Communism. Can’t wait to see how they showcase Stalin. After all, he did own a house in Sochi.
10:22 PM EST: Come on, Russian history, do the locomotion.
10:21 PM EST: TONY LEE–There’s the sickle:
— patrick deneen (@Patrick_Deneen) February 7, 2014
Sochi or St. Petersburg?
— hannah teter (@hannahteter) February 7, 2014
10:19 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–Ezra, I just said that!! Why are they wasting all the fake snow?!
10:15 PM EST: EZRA DULIS–Ack they’re wasting all the fake snow!
10:13 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–It is proper that ballet receives attention in the history of Russia. They are well known for their ballet dancers almost as much as hockey players.
10:12 PM EST: DANIEL FLYNN–May I cut in?
10:11 PM EST: EZRA DULIS–A male-on-male dance? Doesn’t that violate Russian law?
10:09 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–Wait. Now it looks like they’re playing Risk.
10:06 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–OK this part with the ship and land projected on the floor is AMAZING. This is really cool. [The illusion of sailors going below deck on an animated ship got a very big reaction from the crowd.]
10:05 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–This is scaring me and I wonder if my friend put something in my dinner…
10:04 PM EST: DANIEL FLYNN–All that history in three minutes! Russia didn’t make it to 2014 with a fertility rate below replacement level. Countries proud of their past should show it by passing it on to the future. You can’t do that on a fertility rate of 1.54 kids per couple.
10:00 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–I’m scared. I may skip this part so I don’t have nightmares. This is creepy…
10:00 PM EST: EZRA DULIS–If there aren’t any dancing bears by the end of this thing Putin’s entire presidency is a failure.
9:58 PM EST: Creepy little girl is back, surrounded by colorful dancers and wobbling inflatable spires.
9:57 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–This is Russian history as told by Dr. Seuss or Tim Burton.
9:55 PM EST: Three animatronic white horses suspended in midair chased by a giant red sun which is “melting” animated ice projected on the stage.
9:52 PM EST: With all teams accounted for, the ceremony turns to another video presentation. Russian movie stars pepper a montage showing the development of the stadium where the current ceremony is being held.
9:48 PM EST: EZRA DULIS–My brother asks, “How awesome would it be if the sound guy went rogue and started playing Pussy Riot right now?”
9:47 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–Putin is giving Team Russia the “they better make him proud or else” look.
9:46 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–Yay! The Jamaican bobsled team!! It’s a delight to see them at the games.
9:45 PM EST: Crowd goes wild for Jamaica’s bobsled team. Doug E. Doug not available for comment.
9:41 PM EST: EZRA DULIS–Croatian athlete at least has the sense to take a video of her march with a GoPro. Fun fact: GoPro announced plans for an IPO today.
9:38 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–Ukraine athletes appear and Putin gives them a slight clap. WOW. The look on his face said, “After this I will own you.”
9:33 PM EST: DANIEL FLYNN–In the hot girl Olympics: Latvia gold, Slovakia silver, USA bronze. I’m not sure if this is one of the 98 IOC-recognized events or not.
9:32 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–USA! USA! USA! USA! Anyone else in the mood for the movie Team America?
— Backroad Tunes (@BackroadTunes) February 8, 2014
9:30 PM EST: TONY LEE–USA flag-bearer Todd Lodwick did not dip the Stars and Stripes–and this did not violate federal law. Lodwick, the Nordic combined skier, is a six-time Olympian who fractured his left shoulder last month. But he did not turn down an honor of a lifetime:
The United States Flag Code, contained in Chapter 1 of Title Four of the United States Code, forbids the Stars and Stripes to be dipped “to any person or thing” except for rare situations involving naval vessels.
While marching into a stadium and parading a flag might seem like a relatively routine task – albeit with billions of eyes watching – flag bearers actually have several things to remember as they perform the honor at an Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. Making sure the American flag is held high is considered the most important.
“That was the main thing I was told,” said Cameron Myler, a luge athlete who carried the flag at Lillehammer in 1994, the third of her four Olympics. “Don’t dip the flag to anyone. They said to me that U.S. protocol says that the flag must not be dipped regardless of title, even though the Royal Family of Norway was in attendance.”
The Flag Code law does not carry any formal punishment as part of its provisions. Even though it is strictly speaking a federal law, it is considered more akin to a set of guidelines.
Here’s a photo of Lodwick carrying the flag:
Todd Lodwick of the United States carries the national flag as he leads his team into the stadium during the open… pic.twitter.com/N8PZxel9Jf
— Olympics Games (@olympics24h) February 8, 2014
Team USA walks in:
— Johnny Quinn (@JohnnyQuinnUSA) February 7, 2014
Skier Heidi Klosser tore her ACL a day before the games during a trial run. She asked her dad if she would still be considered an Olympian. On Friday, she limped in with Team USA and participated in the opening ceremonies:
— Heidi Kloser (@HeidiKloser) February 7, 2014
Speed skating star Shani Davis with US Olympians:
— Shani Davis (@ShaniDavis) February 7, 2014
Lolo Jones is an Olympian for the US Bobsled Team:
— Lolo Jones (@lolojones) February 7, 2014
Will tonight be the last time Team USA Olympians where these clothes in Sochi? The State Department warned Olympians to be cautious about wearing Team USA gear outside the Olympic Village:
— patrick deneen (@Patrick_Deneen) February 7, 2014
US Aerials Team:
— Mac Bohonnon (@MacBohonnon) February 7, 2014
Snowboarder Jacqueline Hernandez
— Jacqueline Hernandez (@jackiepatty_) February 7, 2014
9:25 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara carries the Slovokia flag.
9:25 PM EST: EZRA DULIS–seriously you guys this music is so dope
9:24 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–South Korea came in second for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Unlike Sochi, they are actually expecting REAL snow. They will host the Olympics in four years.
9:23 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–This is Paraguay’s first Winter Olympic competitor. Her name is Leryn Franco.
9:22 PM EST: DANIEL FLYNN–The world is a better place now than when the Russians last hosted an Olympics. Seeing the Lithuanian, Latvians, and Ukrainians marching under their own flags, when they marched under a hammer-and-sickle in 1980, demonstrates this. Russia’s a freer place, too, even if it’s not quite free. This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the greatest historical event to occur in my lifetime. The celebration of that great event starts now. Czechs marching on Russian soil, rather than Russians marching on Czech soil, shows that 2014 > 1989.
9:15 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–I have not seen The Hunger Games, but there are many tweets from people who say this ceremony reminds them of the movie.
9:14 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–Elise Pellegrin is Malta’s first female Olympian.
9:12 PM EST: TONY LEE–Alpine skier Hubertus von Hohenlohe is Mexico’s flag-bearer. The “Mexican” skier is vying for the “Most Interesting Man at the Olympics” honor with his “Mariachi” ski uniform. He even has a parody Twitter account. He’s the oldest athlete at the games and a pop singer. And the “Mexican” skier also happens to be a German prince:
Take Germany’s Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe, who has emerged as the Sochi Olympics’ favorite underdog. The 55-year-old athlete, who will represent Mexico on the slalom course, made a splash when he debuted his race suit on NBC last week: a spandex Mariachi get-up, complete with fake embroidery, a ruffled shirt, a red cummerbund and cravat.
Hohenlohe has admitted that, with the flashy outfit, he’s compensating for what look like slim chances of making it to the podium, joking that he could at least win for being best-dressed. Hohenlohe’s hat tip to Mexico’s folk music traditions may also be an attempt to win over any countrymen who may still be dubious of his south-of-the-border street cred (despite this being the sixth time he’s skied for the country): though his grandmother was half-Mexican and Hohenlohe was born in Mexico City, he grew up far from the country. The descendant of an aristocratic German family which once ruled the principality of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Hubertus learned to ski in the backyards of his European boarding schools.
Aquí está el mejor diseño de traje de esquí en toda la historia olímpica. Mire hacia fuera el mundo. “Viva México!” pic.twitter.com/rXlWbyqAMZ
— Traje De Hubertus (@TrajeDeHubertus) February 7, 2014
One Man. One awesome suit. One country to bring a metal home to. “Viva Mexico!!” pic.twitter.com/uZwJMrKHfT
— Traje De Hubertus (@TrajeDeHubertus) February 7, 2014
9:10 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–There are people dancing off to the side to the incredibly awesome techno music and yes they do look like the Adiposes from Doctor Who.
— Gregory Sainer (@gsainer) February 8, 2014
9:07 PM EST: EZRA DULIS–Hate to be the guy on the Latvian team who’s taking video on his phone of the guy in front of him taking video on his phone.
9:05 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–The Grand Cayman competitor one upped the Bermuda competitor. He wore FLIP FLOPS along with shorts. A rivalry may have started…
9:00 PM EST: EZRA DULIS–Don’t need to be gay to recognize the music is fab-u-lous!
9:00 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–Here is a picture of the Bermuda delegation.
— Wild Bill (@MoreSkiLessWork) February 8, 2014
8:58 PM EST: DANIEL FLYNN–The mayor of Sochi claimed there were no gay people in his city. If he wants to get an idea of what a gay pride parade is like, he should take a long look at the German delegation marching about to techno music.
8:57 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–The German team is in rainbow colored outfits. They claim it is not in protest of Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law.
8:54 PM EST: TONY LEE–Missing Ring Found?
Here’s that missing fifth ring! pic.twitter.com/U2XzEfqVYv
— Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) February 7, 2014
8:53 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–Venezuela has one athlete and he is very happy to be there! Alpine skier Antonio Pardo jammed to the electronic music in the background, hopping around and waving his country’s flag.
8:52 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–Fun Fact: I do not like Sound of Music. :) I did check the weather in Salzburg and noticed they have similar weather this week as Sochi.
8:51 PM EST: TONY LEE–The fall seen around the world… except on NBC, which did not show it.
— Richard Madan (@RichardMadan) February 7, 2014
— US Olympic Team (@USOlympic) February 8, 2014
8:47 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–These explain the order of delegations:
For the #OpeningCeremony, the marching order of delegations is determined by the Russian alphabet.
— US Olympic Team (@USOlympic) February 8, 2014
— US Olympic Team (@USOlympic) February 8, 2014
8:46 PM EST: Team Bermuda is wearing shorts, true to their non-triangular namesake. More disturbingly, they are wearing shorts with knee-high socks and dress shoes.
8:46 PM EST: DANIEL FLYNN–I’ve been to Salzburg, Mary. They have a castle, culture, and cold. They also have beer–the best beer I’ve ever downed (brewed by monks). It’s puzzling to me how they were passed over. You can in Salzburg see those hills that were alive in The Sound of Music, for goodness sakes. If only they had Putin’s walking around money and bag men.
8:42 PM EST: Each team is led by a woman wearing a white dress and what appears to be a portion of fence/music stand on her head. She holds two plastic tubes with the names of the countries printed in English and Russian.
8:41 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–Austria was the third choice for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
8:40 PM EST: EZRA DULIS–Greece, Australia, Austria, and Azerbaijan’s teams have all been introduced–accompanied by delightfully trashy europop. When do Frances Martel and I get to do live updates on Eurovision?
8:39 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–This is the largest USA winter Olympic team with 230 Olympians: 105 women and 125 men.
8:38 PM EST: TONY LEE–Scenes from the Games.
An Olympic worker pets a stray dog that has been killed yet at the media center:
— Andrew P. Scott (@andrewpscott) February 6, 2014
Putin wearing blankets on legs? Perhaps his tough guy act is a “schtick”?
So cold in this seemingly enclosed building that Putin and friends wearing blankets on legs like soccer parents on fall Sat. mornings.
— Bill Plaschke (@BillPlaschke) February 7, 2014
Dan Wetzel has found a rather strange sign on the streets of Sochi:
— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) February 7, 2014
Tennis star Maria Sharapova, who spent a part of her youth in Sochi after being born in Siberia, seriously considered changing her last name to Sugarpova, but she has never changed her citizenship since coming to the United States from Russia when she was seven years of age. She carried the Olympic torch for Russia during the opening ceremony.
— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) February 7, 2014
Jamaica Bobsled team finally got their equipment (they lost it prior to the games just like the “Cool Runnings” team). The team crowdfunded their way to games.
— Jamaica Bobsled Team (@Jambobsled) February 7, 2014
8:36 PM EST: DANIEL FLYNN–The fifth ring refusing to transform from snowflake into circle brought back Spinal Tap memories of that pod staying shut on Derek Smalls. Despite that technological mishap–Russia happens–the spectacle has been spectacular. Russia has a proud tradition separate from the Communist era. Dostoevsky, Tchaikovsky, and company are worth boasting about. All this social realism garbage isn’t.
8:32 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–They had ONE JOB!!
— Soulless Ginger (@mchastain81) February 8, 2014
8:31 PM EST: Putin’s introduction and Russian national anthem. Choir of the Sretensky Monastery gives an impressive, even compelling a capella rendition of the song, often used for comedic effect in American media. As an orchestra joins the singers, performers wearing glowing vests and hats assemble on the stadium in the shape of the Russian flag. As the song nears its end, they begin moving to imitate the look of the flag waving in the wind.
8:25 PM EST: Creepy little girl’s cosmic tableau gives way to angelic chorus singing operatic anthem–bright lights, lots of fog. The infamous ring malfunction occurs. NBC doesn’t digitally alter it as Russian TV did, but Matt Lauer describes it as only “a little glitch.”
8:24 PM EST: DANIEL FLYNN–I’m glad that little girl got her ABCs right but her history could use some work. Russians didn’t invent television. And “S” is for Solzhenitsyn. Praise for his name is as taboo in Putin’s Russia as Stalin’s should be.
8:21 PM EST: DANIEL FLYNN–I tried to get instructors at a fashion institute to critique the US team’s outfits today. Patriotism apparently compelled them to stay mum. I wear flannel and a burglar’s cap as a uniform, but I’ll bite: the Ralph Lauren opening-ceremonies outfits are to clothes what Soviet-era cuisine is to food.
8:20 PM EST: Countdown to the live ceremony done by same little creepy girl’s voice. Opening shot is an extreme closeup on the young actress playing the creepy little girl, who symbolizes the “feminine soul of Russia.” Camera dollies away to reveal a giant kite. First the kite, then the creepy little girl get suspended by wires in midair.
8:17 PM EST: Video kicking off the ceremony has a creepy little girl running around various computer-generated landscapes, her voiceover talking up Russia’s historic achievements and national figures. Among the name drops: “television.”
8:13 PM EST: DANIEL FLYNN–There’s twelve inches of snow on the ground where I live. Where’s the white stuff at the Winter Olympics? NBC’s shots show clear streets and green grass. That’s not very February, at least where I’m from. If the NHL can play hockey in Dodger Stadium, then the IOC can hold the winter games in Sochi, I guess. Why not St. Petersburg? Why Sochi?
8:11 PM EST: DANIEL FLYNN–It’s telling that the host city’s most famous athlete (Maria Sharapova) is a medalist at the summer rather than winter games. It’s weird that a country with so many cold-weather locales to chose from opted to hold the Winter Olympics in their version of Miami Beach.
8:09 PM EST: MARY CHASTAIN–Viewers HATE the USA sweaters. They were designed by Ralph Lauren.
— Sarah Atkinson (@TexiCaliGal) February 8, 2014
— Kristen Renee (@PhotogKristen) February 8, 2014
And we have won our first gold in “Ugly Sweater Wearing” USA USA USA #Olympics
— Kelly Thul (@kellythul) February 8, 2014
It was really nice of Molly Weasley to knit all of these sweaters for the US Olympic team. #olympics
— Cassie (@sardoodledoms) February 8, 2014
8:06 PM EST: Speed skater J.R. Celski gives a shoutout to 2014’s Super Bowl champs: “Go Seahawks!”
8:03 PM EST: DAN FLYNN–Do you think Bob Costas talked to his cameramen about getting his “good side” tonight? He should have asked Ann Coulter to lend him that pirate patch she wore a few years back.
8:02 PM EST: Tennis star Maria Sharapova gives NBC a tour of her hometown Sochi–local food, culture, etc. She has to explain to the news anchor that a mural depicting her wasn’t there when she was a child.
7:54 PM EST: DAN FLYNN–Interesting that Obama praised the Olympics for recognizing “merit” in the same breath that he acknowledged sending a delegation of athletes to Sochi to represent the US government comprised almost exclusively of gay Olympians. Using sports to make a political point, whether it’s Putin or Obama doing it, clashes with the spirit of the games.
7:53 PM EST: Obama delivers his line about Putin’s toughness “schtick” reported Thurdsay night by Breitbart News.
7:49 PM EST: Bob Costas interviews President Barack Obama. “There is no doubt we wanted to make it very clear that we do not abide by discrimination in anything, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” Obama said of Russia’s controversial laws on homosexuality. “One of the wonderful things about the Olympics is that you are judged by your merit, how good you are regardless of where you come from, what you look like, who you love and that I think is consistent with the spirit of the Olympics.”