The President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, has officially welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin to the winter Games.
Both gave speeches at a gala hosting various world leaders and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on the eve of the competition’s opening ceremony.
Putin thanked the IOC for its unwavering support in Russia’s bid to host the Olympics.
“The whole world is already anticipating this grand sports event and is feeling the special atmosphere and positive energy,” he said. “Russia is aiming to fulfil its Olympic project to the maximum, doing everything possible to ensure the Sochi Olympics is an unforgettable, bright event. We are sure this will be the case.”
Surveillance was increased in the build-up to the costliest Olympics in history, with threats to disrupt events and suicide bombings in the nearby city of Volgograd heightening security fears.
But that didn’t seem to deter spectators as they arrived to watch the Games which, for the first time in 30 years, began before the opening ceremony took place.