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Quotes from the Sochi Games opening ceremony

Reuters

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - A selection of quotes from the opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics on Friday:

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Russia President Vladimir Putin - "I declare the 22nd Olympic Winter Games open."

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IOC President Thomas Bach (Germany) - "Tonight, we are writing a new page in Olympic history."

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Alexander Zubkov (Russia) - "I never dreamed of being a flagbearer. Every athlete has a wish to get to the Olympic Games. I had that wish, but to carry the flag of your country is doubly thrilling."

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Shani Davis (U.S.) - "I'm really happy that it's in Russia. I've had a lot of success here. I had my first world championships here when I was younger so I am happy to do the Olympics here. I am really enjoying myself."

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Tong Jian (China) - "This is my fourth Olympic Games but this is the first time that I will go to the opening ceremony. I decided to go this time because this is probably my last Olympic Games and I wanted to experience it all."

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Valentina Shevchenko (Ukraine) - "It's very nice that it is our brother country, because we are all Slavic."

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Hayley Wickenheiser (Canada) - "To represent the best of Canada is such an honor, it's chilling. There is so much excitement."

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Ayumi Ogasawara (Japan) - "On the ice I've been pretty relaxed so far, but February seventh has finally come. I've known that I was going to be flagbearer for a month and I'm extremely nervous."

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Amanda Lightfoot (Britain) - "It was absolutely amazing coming in. It was overwhelming ... I've never been in front of such a big crowd. That was one of the proudest moments of my life. I was speechless."

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Jorien Ter Mors (Netherlands) - "Not many people get the opportunity to carry the flag, it is an incredible honor and very special."

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Maria Hoefl-Riesch (Germany) - "Olympic Games are already very special and being flagbearer makes it extra special. When you have been successful at the Olympics as I have been before it's like you've seen it all, but this is still something very special."

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Alex Pullin (Australia) - "This is the one event all the athletes can enjoy together, we can all unite and feel the same excitement. It's really important for the Games."

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Lene Nielsen (Denmark) - "No one says 'no' when they ask you to carry your country's flag. It's a great honor and I'm proud and excited."

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Armin Zoeggeler (Italy) - "This is my sixth Olympics, but it is the first time that I have been at an opening ceremony. I have always had early races the next day in the past and tomorrow it will be in the evening."

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Marvin Dixon (Jamaica) - "It means a lot, man. I've been chosen because I am the special one. Everyone laughs at the movie about the Jamaican bobsleigh team, but we're no joke."

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Javier Fernandez (Spain) - "Not every athlete can say that they were carrying the flag. I am so lucky to say I am at the Olympic Games and I am the flagbearer."

(Compiled by Julian Linden; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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