With the official opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi now just a few hours away, security is tight at the Black Sea resort.
While the build-up to the games has been overshadowed by controversy over terror threats, gay rights and unfinished hotels, organisers hope the focus can now be on the sport.
Giant countdown clocks, showing the hours, minutes and seconds until the ceremony have been placed in major cities across Russia.
Euronews’ correspondent in Sochi, Denis Loctier, says that as the clocks count down the final hours before the official opening of the Winter Games, the eyes of the world are on Sochi. He adds that Russia has spared no expense in preparing an Olympics supposed to show the country as safe, open and friendly. Today may show whether it has succeeded in its aim.
It will be the most expensive Olympic Games in history, with the total cost expected to be more than 37 billion euros.
Russian organisers say a record number of world leaders will be attending, triple the amount that attended the 2010 Vancouver Games,
Two thousand nine hundred athletes will be competing for 98 medals over 16 days.
The opening ceremony begins at 2014 local time (1714 CET).