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Sochi opening ceremony: from Peter the Great to Putin

Guide to some of the sights and characters of the Sochi opening ceremony.

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Fireworks over the Fisht Stadium at the Olympic Park during the rehearsal of the opening ceremony.

Alexander Demianchuk / Reuters

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1. Before the torch is lit...

Much secrecy surrounds the Sochi Olympics opening ceremony, but we know one thing for certain: If the rest of the Games are any indication, then the scale planned by Vladimir Putin’s Olympic Committee will go unmatched in size and pomp.

You can expect the ceremony to be a grand retrospective of Russia’s history from medieval times to the present, complete with ancient warriors and modern-day Cossacks, tzars and pop idols, golden-domed cathedrals and make-believe space journeys.  

What follows is a brief introduction to some of the sights and characters that might make an appearance during Friday’s extravaganza, which airs at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time on NBC.

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