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Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, Sven Kramer set new Olympic records in Sochi

The first day official day of competition at the Winter Games in Sochi has seen several new Olympic standards set. This included a new record for the oldest athlete to win gold in an individual event.

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway won gold in the men’s biathlon 10-kilometer sprint at the Sochi Winter Olympics despite missing one of his targets on the course at Kraynaya Polyana, outside of Sochi.

Bjoerndalen, who is competing in his sixth Olympic Games, made up for missing the target with high speed in the closing stages to clinch victory with a time of 24 minutes 33.5 seconds.

Dominik Landertinger of Austria took silver and Jaroslav Soukup of the Czech Republic claimed the bronze medal.

The victory made Bjoerndalen, at the age of 40 years and 13 days, the oldest ever athlete to win an individual Olympic event. The victory also saw Bjoerndalen equal the 12 medals won by compatriot Bjoern Daehlie in cross-country skiing.

With opening ceremony in the bag, Sochi Winter Olympics set to begin in earnest

The 22nd Winter Olympic Games are officially underway after the opening ceremony in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Russian President Vladimir Putin used the event to declare the Games open.

The Sochi Winter Olympics officially began on Friday, with a three-hour long opening ceremony in which the organizers showcased Russian culture and history.

The ceremony culminated with two of Russia’s Olympic legends, former Soviet national hockey team goaltender Vladislav Tretiak and former three-time gold medalist figure skater Irina Rodnina jogging out of the newly (недавно) built Fisht stadium to light the cauldron (котёл) with the Olympic flame.

Just minutes earlier the Olympic flag had been raised inside the stadium, after being carried into the arena by eight famous Russians, four men and women lined up (выстроились) on either side.

Opera soprano singer Anna Netrebko, backed by a male choir, sang the Olympic anthem as the flag was raised.

Putin declares Games open

Russian President Vladimir Putin had declared the Games officially open a few minutes before that, making the declaration in Russian into a microphone on the VIP stand, where he was joined United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, as well as dozens of other heads of state or government. They were among around 40,000 spectators who were in the stadium for the event (событие), while millions followed the proceedings live on television around the world.

Tretiak and Rodnina had to go for a jog to light the Olympic flame

While much of the ceremony used choreographed scenes and sound to depict (изображать, описывать) events from Russia’s history, a good part of it was also taken up by the customary entry of the athletes from the countries competing at the Games. As is tradition, the team from Greece, the cradle (исток) of the Olympics, entered first, while the biggest cheers (аплодисменты) were reserved for the Russian Federation, which, as the home team, entered the stadium last.

Security concerns

The Olympics, which run until February 23, are being held under heavy security to due to fears of possible terrorist attack.

As the ceremony was taking place, Turkish officials confirmed that a passenger on a plane flying from Ukraine to Istanbul, who claimed to have a bomb, had demanded that it be diverted to Sochi. The undersecretary at Turkey’s transport ministry told private broadcaster NTV that the plane had landed safely in Istanbul.

Much of the media focus ahead of the Games was on Russia’s human rights record, with a law passed last year that prohibits the spread of «propaganda» promoting non-traditional sexual relationships, coming in for particular criticism.

Although the Games officially opened on Friday night, Russian time, some qualifying or preliminary competitions had actually begun on Thursday.

The Winter Olympics start in earnest on Saturday, with the first medals up for grabs.

Opening ceremony for Sochi Winter Olympic Games underway

The 2014 Winter Olympics have kicked off with the Games’ opening ceremony in Sochi. Late in the ceremony, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the 22nd Winter Games officially open.

The opening ceremony, being held at Sochi’s brand new Fisht stadium on the shores of the Black Sea, began with something of a lesson in Russian culture and history. Keywords were depicted in graphics featuring children, including the leading figure, Lubov, or “love.”

Shortly after the ceremony began, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach entered the VIP stand from separate doors, meeting in the middle, where they shook hands.

This was followed by the singing of the Russian national anthlem by a choir, as dozens of people, dressed in white, blue and red, took to the floor of the stadium, moving to simulate the country’s flag blowing in the wind.

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