Opening ceremony kickstarts Olympics

A day after competition began, the Winter Olympics officially open in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi early on Saturday (NZT).

The Olympics have already started for four of New Zealand's 15-strong team: Rebecca Torr, Stefi Luxton, Shelly Gotlieb and Christy Prior contested the women's slopestyle snowboard on Thursday.

None of the quartet could manage the top-four finish which would send them straight to the final and will instead contest Sunday's semi-final.

The Kiwi team will be led into the 40,000-capacity Fisht Stadium by long-track speed skater Shane Dobbin, who was named as flagbearer on Wednesday.

Few details of the three-hour ceremony have come to light, but it will include the traditional lighting of the Olympic cauldron.

The opening ceremony is scheduled to start at precisely 2014 local time (0514 Saturday NZT).

More than 2870 athletes and 1630 officials are attending the Games, which run until February 23.

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