SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Olympic officials are defending the use of TV rehearsal footage to cover up a glitch in Sochi's opening ceremony and the choice of a final torchbearer who had posted a racially offensive tweet about President Barack Obama.
Friday night's ceremony hit a bump when only four —instead of five — illuminated floating rings linked up to form the Olympic symbol in the early section of the show.
The five were supposed to join together and erupt in fireworks. But one never expanded, and the pyrotechnics never went off.
While the 40,000 spectators in the stadium saw the glitch, Russian state television cut away to air the recorded images showing all five rings joining together and fireworks exploding.
"Some people decided to take some other footage and some not," International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams told a news conference Saturday. "It's a very technical Olympic ceremony, very well organized. But the show itself was a fantastic one. I don't see what the problem is, to be honest."
Adams said the show "was even better on television."
IOC and Sochi officials also defended Irina Rodnina, the three-time figure skating gold medalist who lit the cauldron with hockey great Vladislav Tretiak at the close of the torch relay.
A tweet of Rodnina's from last year drew new attention on social media on Friday. The image superimposed an image of a banana in front of a picture of Obama and wife Michelle.
Rodnina didn't explain the tweet at the time and later took down the photo, but later defended it with another tweet, saying "Freedom of speech is freedom!"
"Irina Rodnina is one of the most respected" Olympic athletes in the world, Sochi organizing chief Dmitry Chernyshenko said. "I want to stress that Olympics is not about politics. Any political talks and discussions are inappropriate for the Olympic Games."
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