6 pm: 63°FPartly Sunny

8 pm: 62°FPartly Cloudy

10 pm: 59°FClear

12 am: 57°FClear

More Weather

0208_olympics_16.jpg

Performers wearing illuminated suits create the Russian flag during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Gallery: Olympics Opening Ceremony, Sochi

Feb. 07, 2014 @ 11:01 PM

A Russia in search of global vindication kicked off the Sochi Olympics looking more like a Russia that likes to party, with a pulse-raising opening ceremony about fun and sports instead of terrorism, gay rights and coddling despots.

And that’s just the way Russian President Vladimir Putin wants these Winter Games to be.

The world’s premier athletes on ice and snow have more to worry about than geopolitics as they plunge into the biggest challenges of their lives on the mountain slopes of the Caucasus and in the wet-paint-fresh arenas on the shores of the Black Sea.

()