The opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics has kicked off the Games in typically spectacular fashion.

During the procession, there was the usual display of dazzling lights, costumes and performances to thrill the 40,000 spectators at the Fisht Olympic Stadium, as well as around the world.

The ceremony did not pass off without controversy after the German team appeared in rainbow colours - although they denied their costumes were a way of supporting the LGBT campaign against Russia's recently introduced anti-gay laws.

IBTimes UK highlights the top moments of the opening ceremony of the most expensive Olympics of all time.

Sochi Olympics opening ceremony
Fireworks over the Olympic Park during the opening ceremony (Reuters)
Sochi Olympics opening ceremony
With the entire world watching, the first major mistake at the Games occurred within a matter of minutes when the fifth Olympic ring failed to open (Reuters)
Sochi Olympics opening ceremony
The moment will be seen as a huge embarrassment so soon into the most expensive Olympics ever (Reuters)
Sochi Olympics opening ceremony
International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach of Germany (L) and Russian president Vladimir Putin together at the start of the opening of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics (Reuters)
Sochi Olympics opening ceremony
The German team denied their rainbow-coloured outfits were a response to Russia's controversial anti-gay laws (Reuters)
Sochi Olympics opening ceremony
Britain's flag-bearer Jon Eley leads the UK's contingent into the Olympic Stadium (Reuters)
Sochi Olympics opening ceremony
Two of the Sochi Winter Olympic mascots (Reuters)
Sochi Olympics opening ceremony
Performers take part in the St Basil's Cathedral tribute part of the ceremony (Reuters)
Sochi Olympics opening ceremony
Onion-dome floats rise above the performers (Reuters)
Sochi Olympics opening ceremony
Performers beneath the Russian national flag during a performance about the country's history (Reuters)
Sochi Olympics opening ceremony
Canada's flag-bearer Hayley Wickenheiser leads her country (Reuters)
Sochi Olympics opening ceremony
Dancers perform traditional ballroom scene (Reuters)
Sochi Olympics opening ceremony
The performance moved on to the industrial stage of Russia's history (Reuters)
Sochi Olympics opening ceremony
The Games run until 23 February (Reuters)
Sochi Olympics opening ceremony
Violinist Vanessa-Mae Vanakorn, set to ski for Thailand, waves during the opening ceremony (Reuters)
Sochi Olympics opening ceremony
Russia's team members march during the opening ceremony (Reuters)
Sochi Olympics opening ceremony
Soviet history on stage (Reuters)
Sochi Olympics opening ceremony
Ballet dancer Danila Korusntsev (Reuters)