Feb. 6, 2014— -- The Sochi Olympics have officially begun.
Men’s snowboard slopestyle qualifying runs opened the games today, with women’s qualifying runs following. Three of the American athletes competing qualified for the Semis.
The early starts were needed with 12 men’s and women’s medal events added since the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
In the next day, all eyes will be on the opening ceremonies at the Fisht Olympic Stadium. Some 40,000 spectators will be watching from the stands – and details about the ceremony, which is reportedly costing millions of dollars, remain hush-hush.
There will be fireworks – lots of them, matching the display seen following a Saturday rehearsal for the opening ceremonies.
There's dancing, too. American-born Broadway vet Daniel Ezralow, famous for his choreography in “Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark,” says he’s been planning an uplifting historical performance featuring 800 performers.
And rumor has it that Russian pop duo t.A.T.u. – famous for homosexually-suggestive lyrics and the hit 2003 single “All the Things She Said” – will appear as well.
Other performers are expected to include famous Russian violinist Yuri Bashmet, conductor Valery Gergiev, and ballerina Ulyana Lopatkina.
Another expected highlight involves a choir of 1,000 children, who are expected to share a stage with floating cathedral domes, glowing magical horses, buildings, trains and bridges.
With Russia spending $51 billion on the Olympics, the opening ceremony should serve as a spectacle – the true start of Olympic pageantry and festivity.
ABC News’ Dan Good and The Associated Press contributed to this report.