Sochi Olympics' Opening Ceremony Photos Set the Tone for Dramatic Winter Games

And, they're off! The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics jumpstarted Friday with Russia's highly anticipated ceremonies, which, per usual, included the Parade of Nations, live performances, and a dramatic torch lighting. But, for those of us on the other side of the world, what did it look like inside Fisht Olympic Stadium? Click on to see some of the Opening Ceremonies' most notable moments in pictures. 

Sochi Lets Its Colors Burst

With a series of impressive fireworks. 

Inflatables

Inflatables make the shape of St. Basil’s Cathedral, an iconic Russian landmark in Moscow.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs Sing "Get Lucky"

Without robot masks, this time. (See video here!)

Snow Way!

A bevy of snowflakes were supposed to transform into the five Olympic rings during the opening ceremony…

Oh, Snow

…One, however, failed to take shape… 

…which probably didn’t make Putin (seen here with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach) too happy. 

Flying High

A closer look at Temnikova as Lyubov, soaring through the stadium. 

Russia Spreads Its Voice

Thanks to Liza Temnikova, performing the “Voices of Russia,” portraying Russian artist Lyubov. 

Tokio Performs

The Russian band Tokio opened the Olympics Ceremony pre-show.

T.a.t.u. Performs

A surprising choice for the pre-show to a very anti-gay Winter Games: Lena Katina and Yulia Volkova, otherwise known as t.A.T.u, otherwise known as the band that invited controversy for for their faux homosexual image. Despite the fact that the band is not made up of two lesbian singers, t.A.T.u has always advocated for gay rights. 

A Permanent Look at t.A.T.u.

A closer look at all the things “All the Things She Said” singers t.A.t.u. said during the Opening Ceremonies Pre-Show. (Note the rainbow garb.)

Russian Pride

Inflatables take the shape of Russia’s famed cathedrals.

Russian Pride

Athlete Marshals formed the Russian flag during the ceremony. 

Russia Sings

The Moscow Stretensky Monastery Choir performs the country’s national anthem. 

The Olympic Flag

Olympic flag bearers Chulpan Khamatova, Lidiya Skoblikova, Anastasia Popova, Valentina Tereshkova, Vyacheslav Fetisov, Valeriy Gergiev, Alan Enileev and Nikita Mikhalkov carry in the Olympic Flag.

Greece Kicks Off The Parade of Nations

Led by cross country skier Panagiota Tsakiri.

Australia

Led by snowboarder Alex Pullin. 

Austria

Led by Nordic combined skier Mario Stecher.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Led by Skier Zana Novakovic.

Great Britain

Led by Short track speed skater Jon Eley.

Brazil

Led by cross country skier and biathlete Jaqueline Mourao.

Germany

Led by skier Maria Hoefl-Riesch.

Bulgaria

Led by skier Maria Kirkova.

Belarus

Led by freestyle skier Alexei Grishin.

Canada

Led by ice hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser.

Italy

Led by luger Armin Zoeggeler.

Spain

Led by figure skater Javier Fernandez.

Israel

Led by short track speed skater Vladislav Bykanov.

Iceland

Led by cross country skier Saevar Birgisson.

Latvia

Led by ice hockey player Sandis Ozolins.

Ireland

Led by ice hockey player Sandis Ozolins.

Norway

Led by skier Aksel Lund Svindal.

Zimbabwe

Led by skier Luke Steyn.

Mexico

Led by skier Hubertus von Hohenlohe.

Poland

Led by bobsleigh racer Dawid Kupczyk.

Kyrgyzstan

Led by skier Dmitry Trelevski.

Georgia

Led by skier Nino Tsiklauri. 

China

Led by figure skater Jian Tong.

South Korea

Led by speed skater Kyou Hyuk Lee.

Brazil

Led by cross country skier and biathlete Jaqueline Mourao.

United States

Led by Nordic combined skier Todd Lodwick.

Slovakia

Led by ice hockey player Zdeno Chara.

Serbia

Led by biathlete Milanko Petrovic.

Norway

Led by skier Aksel Lund Svindal.

Denmark

Led by curler Lene Nielsen.

Ukraine

Led by cross country skier Valentina Shevchenko.

Venezuela

Led by skier Antonio Pardo.

Dominica

Led by cross country skier Gary di Silvestri.

Slovenia

Led by ice hockey player Tomaz Razingar.

Virgin Islands

Led by skier Jasmine Campbell.

San Marino

Led by skier Vincenzo Romano Michelotti.

Kazakhstan

Led by cross country skier Yerdos Akhmadiyev.

New Zealand

Led by speed skater Shane Dobbin.

France

Led by Nordic combined skier Jason Lamy-Chappuis.

Romania

Led by biathlete Eva Tofalvi.

Finland

Led by snowboarder Enni Rukajarvi.

Russia

Led by bobsleigh racer Alexander Zubkov.

Portugal

Led by skier Arthur Hanse.

Jamaica

Led by bobsleigh racer Marvin Dixon.

Sweden

Led by cross country skier Anders Soedergren.

Macedonia

Led by cross country skier Darko Damjanovski.

Bermuda

Led by cross country skier Tucker Murphy.

Albania

Led by skier Erjon Tola.

Andorra

Led by skier Mireia Gutierrez.

Azerbaijan

Led by skier Patrick Brachner.

Iran

Led by skier Hossein Saveh Shemshaki.

Cayman Islands

Led by skier Dow Travers.

Armenia

Led by cross country skier Sergey Mikayelyan.

Morocco

Led by skier Adam Lamhamedi.

Finland

Led by snowboarder Enni Rukajarvi.

Romania

Led by biathlete Eva Tofalvi.

Japan

Led by curler Ayumi Ogasawara.

Olympic Flag raised

Anna Netrebko sings as the Olympic Flag is raised in Sochi.

Mongolia

Led by cross country skier Byambadorj Bold.

Olympic flame

Olympic torch bearer Alina Kabaeva carries the torch with Maria Sharapova and Elena Isinbaeva.

Sochi Opening Ceremony

Svetlana Zakharova and Vladimir Vasiliev perform as Natasha Rostova and her father in Natasha Rostova’s First Ball during the Opening Ceremony.

Sochi Opening Ceremony

Dancers perform during the Olympics Opening Ceremony.

Lithuania

Led by figure skater Deividas Stagniunas.

Sochi Mascots

A hare, a bear, and a leopard round up the 2014 Sochi Olympic mascots.

Lebanon

Led by skier Alexandre Mohbat.

Fire Up!

The Olympic cauldron should light a fire under the athletes at these Olympic games.