TV preview: Live Winter Olympics opening ceremony

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Cast your mind back to the heady summer of 2012, when it seemed the British public forgot they were supposed to be moaning about the cost of the London Games, and instead came down with a serious case of Olympic fever.

And then get ready to enter into the spirit again as the Winter Games officially begin.

Even though this time the event is being held in Russia, rather than the UK, the BBC is still dedicated to bringing us all the action via six HD streams.

Ron Chakraborty, Lead Executive of Major Events for BBC Sport, says: “BBC Sport is very proud to be able to offer such extensive coverage from Sochi 2014 - after delivering London 2012 we’re once again at the forefront of bringing the most innovative and accessible multi-platform sports coverage to our audiences.

“The Winter Olympics is a big part of a fantastic year of sport on the BBC which also includes the World Cup and Commonwealth Games.”

But while you can watch the sporting action on your smartphone or laptop, the best place to see the Opening Ceremony is on good old BBC Two, as Clare Balding introduces coverage from the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, Russia.

Perhaps surprisingly, this is Russia’s first ever Winter Games, and only the second time the country has hosted an Olympic event (the other was the Moscow Games of 1980).

So, we should probably expect something fairly spectacular from this choreographed show, which will culminate in the lighting of the Olympic Flame.

But will there be anything to match the Queen skydiving into the arena with James Bond, Mary Poppins defending the NHS from Voldemort, or any of the more eccentric touches from Danny Boyle’s Olympic ceremony? Let’s just hope commentator Hazel Irvine is well versed in Russian pop culture.

The ceremony will also give us a chance to check out the athletes, including Team GB, who are hoping for a record year.

Among the names to look out for are Elsie Christie, who holds a World Cup title in the 1,000m short-track speed skating, as well as being European champion over 1,000m and 1,500m, and John Jackson who in December led the first British men’s bobsleigh team to secure a World Cup medal since 1997.

Other medal hopes include snowboarders Jenny Jones, who may be making her Olympic debut but has been a leading name in her sport for the past decade, and Billy Morgan, who ended last season second in the world rankings.

Eve Muirhead and David Murdoch are both hotly tipped in the curling, Shelley Rudman and Lizzy Yarnold are contenders in the skeleton, while James Woods and Katie Summerhayes will be flying the flag for Team GB in the freestyle skiing.

They’ll all be in action over the next 16 days, but if the opening ceremony leaves you ready for more Winter games, BBC2 continues the Olympic theme later this evening with the documentary Torvill & Dean: The Perfect Day, and a slightly off-piste round-up of the day’s events with Alan Davies: Apres Ski.

LIVE WINTER OLYMPICS OPENING CEREMONY, BBC2, Friday 3.30pm

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