The opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Games ended with a massive fireworks show in Sochi's Olympic Park that reportedly set off car alarms and rattled windows.
The spectacular fireworks show followed the Olympic torch being carried into Fisht Olympic Stadium and the cauldron lighted.
Before the pyrotechnics, the crowd had a range of entertainment, including ballet and dancers in illuminated costumes, likened to glowing jellyfish.
During the ceremony, IOC President Thomas Bach welcomed the athletes with a message that stressed tolerance: "You have come here with your Olympic dream. You are welcome, no matter where you come from or your background. Yes, it's possible even as competitors to live together and to live in harmony with tolerance and without any form of discrimination for whatever reason."
Athletes drew thumbs up and thumbs down for their apparel as they made their way into the stadium. U.S. athletes wore their Ralph Lauren gear -- including a chunky, patchwork knit wool cardigan emblazoned with stars, stripes and patriotic graphics.
"Better in theory than in practice," said The Times' Helene Elliott wrote of the sweaters.
The ceremony will be shown in its entirety at 7:30 p.m. PST on NBC.
[For the record, 12:29 p.m. PST: An earlier version of this post said the Olympic flame was lighted by Maria Sharapova. Vladislav Tretiak and Irina Rodnina did the honors.]