8 February, 12:40

Three billion watch Sochi Games Opening Ceremony – organizers

Three billion watch Sochi Games Opening Ceremony – organizers

Another 40,000 watched the ceremony at the Fisht stadium in the Sochi Olympic Park, the statement said. The three-hour show, which offered an epic overview of Russian history in 18 parts, utilized a staff of 12,000.

Participants included opera star Anna Netrebko, ballet dancers Svetlana Zakharova and Danila Korsuntsev, and cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev and Svetlana Savitskaya.

Controversial faux-lesbian pop band tATu, initially rumored to perform at the ceremony, only appeared in the pre-show. However, the Russian team entered the Parade of Nations to the mash-up of their hit "Not Gonna Get Us" and Queen’s "We Will Rock You."

Audience of the opening ceremony at the previous Winter Games in Vancouver was put by organizers at 1 billion. Between 1 billion and 4 billion, by various estimates, watched the show that kicked off the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

The Sochi Olympics run February 7 to 23. About 3,500 athletes will compete for 98 medals in 15 disciplines.

RIA

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