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Viewers in the U.S. won’t be able to watch the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi until 7.30 p.m. ET on NBC, but the event has already kicked off.
With the run-up to the games dominated by reports of half-built hotels, stray dogs and dirty drinking water, the spectacular ceremony was quickly marred by an electrical malfunction.
When five snowflake-shaped lights were turning into Olympic rings, one failed to open properly, leading to another round of scathing social media commentary.
“People responsible for it are probably fleeing the country already,” joked a Twitter user.
Another unusual incident that confused Americans present at the ceremony was the use of the Russian alphabet rather than the Western ordering.
Sports columnist Bruce Arthur tweeted that Israel came before Iran, and both were after Zimbabwe.
For the record, they’re marching in the order of the Russian alphabet.
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) February 7, 2014
Some countries were quick to make a stand against political issues in Russia. The German team wore rainbow uniforms to show their support for gay rights, while the Greek athletes donned rainbow gloves.
Meanwhile, Estonia carried black flags to represent suffering. Estonia’s PEN association allegedly signed a letter to President Putin protesting laws choking off free speech in Russia.
Many social media users also criticized the choice of music accompanying the arrival of the Olympic squads, which was provided by DJ Leonid Rudenko, one of the few internationally known Russian DJs. The expected performance of the fake-lesbian pop duo t.A.T.u. during the arrival of the Russian squad didn’t materialize. Instead, DJ Rudenko played a remix of their track “Not Gonna Get Us.”
Beats from Queen’s anthem “We Will Rock You,” when the Russian team emerged were also heard floating through the stadium, adding a musical element to the gay rights theme of the games.
According to reports flooding Twitter, India’s Olympic athletes had to walk into the opening ceremony as “independents” due to political infighting at the country’s Olympics governance body.
One big hit from early feedback was the arrival of the Jamaican bobsled team, who finally got their equipment delivered after it had been stuck en route from New York to Sochi.
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