Powerful show officially opens Games

Fortunately, he failed and the opening ceremonies went off peacefully. They ended with the lighting of the cauldron by three-time gold medalist pairs skater Irina Rodnina and Vladislav Tretiak, who won three gold medals in hockey.

Tretiak also lost a rather well-known Olympic game when the United States beat the Soviets in the 1980 "Miracle on Ice." That game captivated our country at a time when spirits were low and the Cold War was near its most frigid. It helped spur the "U-S-A! U-S-A!" chants that are so familiar today and remains perhaps the most famous American sporting moment.

We shall see whether there are other epic performances when the U.S. finally competes in Russia. But, as Bach said, the Olympics can be a powerful, unifying force.

"There is nothing more exciting than walking hand-in-hand with my teammates in the Olympic opening ceremony," U.S. curler Debbie McCormick said. "My heart is filled with stars and stripes, joy and excitement."

The cauldron is lit. The Games have started. It is now officially time to stop complaining about Spartan accommodations, stray dogs and urine-colored water (or the U.S. sweaters). Now is the time to focus on the Olympics, the athletes and their performances.

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