Mysteries solved: Answering pressing questions from the Opening Ceremony

If you managed to watch all three hours of the Sochi Games Opening Ceremony, there was a lot to digest.

And it all started with the Russian alphabet.

At the very beginning of the Opening Ceremony, a cute little girl walked you through all 33 letters of Russia’s Cyrillic alphabet.

Bet you didn’t know there was going to be a test later in the program.

[Related: Opening Ceremony's signature moments]

See, if you had paid attention to that small, seemingly insignificant open, you wouldn’t have been one of the millions of people utterly confused – and venting on social media about their confusion – when the Zimbabwe team came before the Israeli team and Great Britain fell somewhere far after that.

Yes, the teams walked out of the tunnel in alphabetical order, but it was the alphabet we had all learned 30 minutes before, not the one we knew from grade school.

Here are a few more mysteries we tried to clear up while watching the Opening Ceremony:

Mystery: The Russian Olympic team made their way into the stadium with some interesting music. What was that?

Solved (UPDATED): Originally, I noted the Russian Olympic team walked in to the melodic sounds of Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” That was incorrect. They actually walked in to "Not Gonna Get Us" by the Russian duo t.A.T.u. The choice was interesting considering t.A.T.u is known for its lesbian-themed videos and we all know president Vladimir Putin's stance on that. The duo actually performed live during the pre-show in Fisht Stadium before the Opening Ceremony. As for the Daft Punk error? Well, I blame that one on BBC.

[Slideshow: Torch lighting at Opening Ceremony]

Mystery: Why were there so many empty seats at the beginning of the Opening Ceremony?

Solved: Many of the open seats in Fisht Olympic Stadium were for the athletes. So, they filled up quite a bit by the time Russia’s artistic account of its history began. This event was totally sold out.

Mystery: Why didn’t athletes walk the length of the track?

Solved: Our boots on the ground tell me that the decision to have athletes go straight to their seats instead of walking the length of the track was a creative one. And let’s be honest, the ceremony was already three hours. Did anyone want an extra hour watching all of the athletes take a lap?

Mystery: Who was the fourth person to get the Olympic Torch on the way to the cauldron being lit?

Solved: Ah, that would be former Russian gymnast Alina Kabaeva. Her credentials for being in such a coveted position include having won a gold medal and a bronze medal and being romantically linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The other five people who carried the torch are actual athletic icons in the country. As an aside, we were a little disappointed Ivan Drago didn’t get his moment in the spotlight. Like Kabaeva, he also won a gold medal.

[Related: Alleged girlfriend of Putin to help light Olympic flame]

Mystery: Was there a Russian translation in the arena during the speeches?

Solved: Nope. Several journalists turned on translation apps just to understand what was being said, and even then it was a little dicey.

Mystery: What music was playing while the Rollerbladers were racing around the stadium?

Solved: That would be the soundtrack to “Tron: Legacy.” No, seriously. For a brief moment, we were all transported back to 2010, where we then called upon a movie that was originally made in 1982.

Mystery: Did anyone fall during the parade of teams?

Solved (kinda): A poor Austrian athlete took a major tumble down the runway and Getty Images was there to snap a photo for the world to see. Sadly, the mystery we didn’t solve was the identity of the klutzy athlete. We’re sure he or she is hoping to stay anonymous.

Mystery: Got any cool tidbits about the torch?

Solved: Actually, yes. The torch that was ultimately used to light the Olympic cauldron at the conclusion of the Opening Ceremony was actually shot into space and spent some time on the International Space Station. And no, it wasn’t lit because there’s no oxygen in space. But, it was the first time a torch had left the Earth. Look at Russia, starting the space race all over again.


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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter!

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