Olympic officials have defended Russia’s use of fake TV footage to stop viewers realising the iconic rings had failed to light during the opening ceremony – claiming: ‘I don’t see what the problem is to be honest’.
Minutes into the ceremony in Sochi, there was a glitch when one of the five snowflakes failed to open out into an Olympic ring – leading a planned pyrotechnic display to be cancelled.
However, state broadcaster Rossiya 1 cut straight to rehearsal footage where the rings came together and exploded on cue, with producers confirming the switch had happened to preserve the imagery of the Olympic symbols.
Today, Mark Adams, of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said some broadcasters ‘decided to take some other footage’ while others did not.
‘It is a very technical Olympic ceremony, very well organized,’ said Mr Adams, from Britain. ‘But the show itself was a fantastic one. I don’t see what the problem is, to be honest.’
Mr Adams added that the extravagant event had been ‘even better on television’.
Officials have also spoken out in defence of three-time figure skating gold medallist, Irina Rodnina, who was chosen to light the cauldron with hockey legend, Vladislav Tretiak.
On Friday, Rodnina sparked outrage with a tweet from last year featuring a ‘racist’ photo of US president Barack Obama doctored to include a banana.
But today, Sochi organising chief Dmitry Chernyshenko declared Rodnina was one of the world’s ‘most respected’ athletes and ‘the Olympics is not about politics’.
Mr Adams added: ‘She was chosen for what she’s done in sport. She’s a triple gold medalist in skating and she’s done a great deal of work for sport and that’s what she was chosen for.‘
The rings failing to light was the biggest of several embarrassing moments on the night President Putin wanted to show off his country to the world.
Konstantin Ernst, executive creative director of the opening ceremony, told reporters he called down to master control to tell them to go to the practice footage when he realised what happened. ‘This is certainly bad, but it does not humiliate us’, he insisted, adding that the use of pre-recorded footage was an ‘open secret’.
The show’s artistic director George Tsypin confirmed the malfunction was caused by a bad command from a stage manager.