24 Gorgeous Photos From Sochi's Fantastic Opening Ceremony

With the exception of one major ring malfunction, the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Olympics was fantastic.

The music was great, the dance numbers made sense, and it felt uniquely Russian. It was clever without being silly, and entertaining without being lame.

Above all, it was visually arresting.

The Sochi games has had its problems, but the Opening Ceremony (not counting the rings fiasco) wasn’t one of them.

The performance of Swan Lake.

A dancer up close.

A group of dancers during a tribute to 'War & Peace'

Maria Sharapova carrying the Olympic torch.

The notorious rings looked beautiful before they malfunctioned.

A little girl floating in the center of the arena.

The Russian flag amid falling snow.

Communist imagery during the Russian Revolution section.

An alternate view of the Swan Lake performance.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai watches a fireworks display.

Russian dancers during a Peter the Great routine.

Someone takes a picture during the Swan Lake performance.

The floor of the stadium from the roof.

The stark set design of the Soviet Union section.

One more amazing Swan Lake picture.

Dancers make a human square.

The torch at the base of the Olympic cauldron.

Massive floating cathedrals.

Massive mechanical athletes float through space.

Dancers in the industrial section.

A dancer is lifted in the air.

The roof of Fisht Stadium illuminated blue.

The lights dim during a dance routine.

The Olympic cauldron, on fire.

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