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The ceremony is underway.

The thousands inside Fisht Stadium are watching a stylized video in which a Russian girl, Lubov, is walking the crowd through the Cyrillic alphabet. Each letter is highlighting a Russian contribution to world history, from the fairy tales of Pushkin to Mendeleev's periodic table of elements.

And now, as fireworks explode outside the stadium, the crowd is counting down the final seconds to the big show.