By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer
All eyes were on Russia this weekend for the Sochi Winter Olympics. The opening ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium didn’t disappoint on Friday, with visual spectacles that stylishly celebrated Russian and international culture. Then, the medals race kicked off with slopestyle, speedskating, downhill skiing, moguls, and more. Norway leads the bunch so far with 7 medals, while the Netherlands, United States, Canada, and Russia scored 4.
During the opening ceremony, five snowflakes beautifully morphed into the Olympic rings, although the 5th one malfunctioned. Oops! Everything went smoothly after that, though, as the world’s best athletes proudly marched in a flag-waving parade of nations.
After that, it was Russia’s turn to shine a bright spotlight on its history and dreams, including a beautifully lit horse and carriage structure that flew through the air, ballet dancers, music by classic Russian composers like Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky, and a floating train.
Sochi’s first gold medal was won by 20-year-old American snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg on the dangerous slopestyle course. Sven Kramer of the Netherlands defended his speedskating gold medal with a record-breaking 5,000 meter race time of 6 minutes, 10.76 seconds. Austria’s Matthias Mayer took out two of the downhill skiing idols he looked up to as a boy, Bode Miller and Aksel Lund Svindal, for a gold. Russia’s figure skating team won the host country’s first gold medal, and President Vladimir Putin personally thanked 15-year-old Yulia Lipnitskaya and the rest of her team.
Image of opening ceremony and Russia’s figure skating team courtesy of Sochi 2014 Winter Games Facebook. Image of Sage Kotsenburg courtesy of Team USA Winter Olympics Facebook.