TIME olympics

Russian TV Covers Up Opening Ceremony Ring Malfunction

Sochi Olympics Opening Ceremony
AP In a combo of frame grabs taken from Russian television, five snowflakes float together in Fisht Stadium during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014

Russian state television cut to footage from rehearsal to hide a malfunction

Russian state television aired a doctored version of the Sochi Olympic Opening Ceremonies on Friday, the Associated Press reports. In the Russian version of the event, five floating snowflakes turned into the Olympic rings before bursting into flames. But in reality, only four of the five rings materialized during the Opening Ceremonies.

(MORE: Sochi Winter Olympics’ Opening Ceremony in Pictures)

The five rings were supposed to join together and then turn into fireworks. But one of the snowflakes never transformed into a ring, and the pyrotechnics never happened. Russian state television cut away to rehearsal footage when the fifth ring got stuck, according to producers of the show.

The producers maintain that it was critical to preserve the Olympic ring imagery, even if it meant showing fake footage. Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly emphasized the importance of showcasing Russia flawlessly to the world during the Olympics.

NBC, which is airing the Opening Ceremonies later tonight, said in a statement, “We will show things as they happened tonight.” And it stuck to its promise by showing the glitch, which barely marred an otherwise spectacular opening ceremony.


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