UK & World News

  • 9 February 2014, 4:12

Sochi Olympics: Rings Glitch Cover-Up Defended

Olympic officials have defended Russia's decision to use rehearsal footage to disguise a technical glitch during Sochi's opening ceremony.

Early on in the show, one of the five Olympics rings suspended from the ceiling failed to illuminate completely, and appeared as a huge snowflake. The pyrotechnics also never went off.

While the 40,000 spectators in the stadium saw the error, Russians watching the spectacle on television were oblivious to the error as the local television feed cut away to recorded images.

Sky's Katie Stallard said: "The feed showed everything going entirely according to plan so if you watched this in Russia it was flawless."

International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams told reporters: "Some people decided to take some other footage and some not.

"It's a very technical Olympic ceremony, very well organised. But the show itself was a fantastic one. I don't see what the problem is, to be honest."

Mr Adams said the show "was even better on television."

IOC and Sochi officials also defended the choice of a final torchbearer who had posted a racially offensive tweet about President Barack Obama last year.

Irina Rodnina, the three-time figure skating gold medallist, courted controversy after tweeting a picture of a superimposed banana in front of an image of Mr Obama and his wife Michelle.

Although Ms Rodnina took down the photo later, she defended it with another tweet, saying "Freedom of speech is freedom!"

"Irina Rodnina is one of the most respected" Olympic athletes in the world, Sochi organising chief Dmitry Chernyshenko said.

"I want to stress that Olympics is not about politics. Any political talks and discussions are inappropriate for the Olympic Games."

Mr Adams said the IOC does not choose the torchbearers but he defended Rodnina's credentials.

He said: "She was chosen for what she's done in sport. She's a triple gold medallist in skating and she's done a great deal of work for sport and that's what she was chosen for."

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