The Sochi Opening Ceremony kicked off the 2014 Winter Olympics. It was a surreal extravaganza, filled with beauty, controversy, and even a little bit of terror. It took audiences on a journey through the history of Russia and the country’s cultural milieu. The most expensive Winter Olympics was a feast for the eyes, and we’ve rounded up a few of the biggest moments from the ceremony that got people talking.
The history of Russian portrayed through the country’s unique Cyrillic alphabet.
Chevrolet paid no mind to Russia’s anti-gay laws and featured same-sex couples in its ad during the Opening Ceremony.
Malfunctions are par for the course during live events, but this one was a symbolic eyesore. The fifth Olympic ring never transformed due to an electric problem.
And then three terrifying animatronic creatures took the ice.
The Russian Police Choir sang Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and shook their groove thing.
This stunning 213-foot long troika (three animatronic horses) pulled a sun across the sky.
An exotic carnival of colors, acrobats, and balloons invaded the senses.
Liza Temnikova, an 11-year-old girl who is the daughter of two taxi drivers, represented the heroine Lyubov (Love), leading audiences through a magical dreamscape, eventually taking to the air.
The Swan Lake performance was gorgeous.
Thank goodness Matt Lauer explained YOLO.
Everyone wondered if the Germany’s Olympic Team was engaging in a silent protest by wearing these rainbow-colored uniforms, despite claims that the outfits were designed before Russia’s anti-gay insanity went down.
The lighting of the torch capped off a surreal evening filled with fire.