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Russia prepares for Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony

Russia prepares for Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony

Russia is preparing to welcome guests to the Black Sea coastal resort of Sochi ahead of the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Olympic Games.

A total of 2,900 athletes will compete for 98 gold medals over 16 days, with the games set to be the most expensive in history.

At £30 billion, the cost of the Games is more than the combined total of all other Olympic Winter Games to date.

Canada, Norway and the United States are favourites to top the medal table, while Team GB is hoping to better its tally of one medal in 2010.

In turn, Russian athletes are under pressure to improve on the embarrassment of 11th place at the last Winter Games in Vancouver.

The nation has devoted £600m to elite winter sport since winning the bid to host these Games seven years ago.

Security in Sochi has been prominent as the world’s athletes and media arrive for the Games, with many thousands of guards on duty.

Fisht Olympic Stadium should be at full 40,000 capacity for the ceremony, although empty seats are anticipated at venues once the action begins.

Two weeks before the Games, organisers reported they had sold 70 per cent of available tickets.