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February 07, 2014 AT 8:22 AM
Music, dance and plenty of Russian bravado unleashed the ultimate achievement of Vladimir Putin's Russia on Thursday, a Winter Olympics to showcase the best athletes on ice and snow that the world has to offer. The opening ceremony on the edge of the Black Sea and subsequent games are Russia's chance to tell its story of post-Soviet resurrection to the world, and dispel the anger, fear and suspicion that has marred the buildup to these most expensive Olympics ever. The opening and closing ceremonies will make reference to the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, which some view as the first time the opening ceremony became such a big deal.