SOCHI, Russia — A Russia in search of global vindication kicked off the Sochi Olympics looking more like a Russia that likes to party, with a pulse-raising opening ceremony about fun and sports instead of terrorism, gay rights and coddling despots.And that’s just the way Russian President Vladimir Putin wants these Winter Games to be.The world’s premier athletes on ice and snow have more to worry about than geopolitics as they plunge into the biggest challenges of their lives on the mountain slopes of the Caucasus and in the wet-paint-fresh arenas on the shores of the Black Sea.But watch out for those Russians on their home turf. A raucous group of Russian athletes had a message for their nearly 3,000 rivals in Sochi, marching through Fisht Stadium singing that they’re “not gonna get us!”Superlatives abounded and the mood soared as Tchaikovsky met pseudo-lesbian pop duo Tatu and their hit, “Not Gonna Get Us.” Russian TV presenter Yana Churikova shouted: “Welcome to the center of the universe!”Yet no amount of cheering could drown out the real world.Fears of terrorism, which have dogged these games since the Putin won them amid controversy seven years ago, were stoked during the ceremony itself. A… Read full this story
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