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Grumbles drowned out as Sochi party gets under way

By Timothy Heritage SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - After putting up for years with dust, noise and traffic jams while their drab Russian resort was transformed into a modern sports hub, the people of Sochi can finally judge for themselves whether it was worth it. As the $51-billion Winter Olympics got into full swing on Sunday, the answer from spectators, seeing the Olympic Park up and running for the first time, was a resounding "Yes".

Olympics: Russian press gush with pride over 'fairy tale' ceremony

Russia's press on Saturday gushed with pride over a "fairy tale" Olympic opening ceremony in Sochi, saying it restored pride to the former superpower that had been lacking for too long. Aside from an early glitch when a giant snowflake failed to morph into one of the Olympic rings, Friday's ceremony thrilled with its feast of music and dance -- taking viewers on a breathless ride through Russian history. "A ceremony of pride for Russia," read the headline in the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily.

Quotes from the Sochi Games opening ceremony

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - A selection of quotes from the opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics on Friday: - - Russia President Vladimir Putin - "I declare the 22nd Olympic Winter Games open." - - IOC President Thomas Bach (Germany) - "Tonight, we are writing a new page in Olympic history." - -

IOC to watch new women's format with interest

By Frank Pingue SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Women's ice hockey will debut a new format at the Sochi Games on Saturday aimed at avoiding the embarrassing routs that have put the sport's Olympic future in doubt, but the tournament should still come down a battle of Davids and Goliaths. Since the women's event was added to the Olympic program at the 1998 Nagano Games, Canada and the United States have accounted for all four gold medals.

Olympics: Russia prepares glitzy opening to sway sceptics

Russia on Friday officially opens its first ever Winter Olympics with a ceremony attended by dozens of heads of state and aimed at impressing a sceptical world with an unforgettable spectacle. With a hard act to follow after show-stopping Summer Olympics opening ceremonies in 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London, Russia is expected to pull out all the stops to give the world a night to remember.

Obama highlights gay rights in Sochi delegation

President Barack Obama said Thursday that he had included openly gay athletes in the US Olympic delegation to show the United States would not abide discrimination in sport or anywhere else. His comments, in an interview with NBC on the eve of the Sochi Winter Olympics, came after a senior Russian official warned athletes or spectators should not promote gay rights during the Olympics following the passage of controversial anti-gay legislation in Russia.

Olympics: Sochi in brief

The Sochi Winter Olympics in brief on Thursday: Little is large show He may be the shortest player at the Winter Olympics men's ice hockey tournament, but Dominique Heinrich of Austria believes that is an advantage. "I can slip through people's legs," the 170 cm (five feet seven inches) tall Austrian told the Olympic News Service. Defending champions Canada, in Austria's group, have 10 players taller than 190 cm but the 23-year-old travelling reserve forward is not afraid of heights.

Let's focus on sport not politics, say top U.S. skiers

By Mark Trevelyan ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Two of the biggest U.S. stars in Russia for the Winter Olympics sidestepped questions about the troubled political backdrop to the Games and said on Thursday the sport should come first. Human rights concerns, especially over a Russian law passed last year that bans the promotion of homosexuality to young people, have dogged the run-up to the Games that open in Sochi on Friday.

Olympics: US chiefs say business as usual despite security fears

US Olympic team chiefs insisted on Thursday it was business as usual for American athletes in Sochi despite fresh security fears on the eve of the offical opening of the Winter Games. Concerns over security at the Games, which open on Friday, skyrocketed after two suicide attacks in the southern Russian city of Volgograd in December, blamed on Islamist militants from the Northern Caucaus region.

Olympics: US chiefs say business as usual despite security fears

US Olympic team chiefs insisted on Thursday it was business as usual for American athletes in Sochi despite fresh security fears on the eve of the offical opening of the Winter Games. Concerns over security at the Games, which open on Friday, skyrocketed after two suicide attacks in the southern Russian city of Volgograd in December, blamed on Islamist militants from the Northern Caucaus region.
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