Opening Ceremonies tonight in Sochi

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After years of planning, the big day dawns as Russia hopes to brightly shine on the international stage with the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies tonight on WTHR Channel 13.

The giant Olympic caldron sleeps for the moment. But soon the eyes of the world will watch her glow during 17 days of competition.

The volunteers and security crews have been through their dress rehearsals. Fisht Stadium will be packed with 40,000 fans for the Opening Ceremonies.

The locals say the event will be thrilling start-to-finish.

The good seats are selling for 50,000 rubles. That's $1,500 American.  The cheap seats went for $185.

Nordic combined skier Todd Lodwick was chosen as the USA flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony tonight in Sochi.  He was part of the team that won silver at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. But more impressive than that – Lodwick will be the first American to compete in six Winter Olympic Games. 

"I was ecstatic," he said, describing the emotions when he found out he would carry the flag. "Very humbly, in my own way, I just kind of sat in my chair and was like, 'Holy cow, I get to carry the flag for the United States of America at the Olympic games in Sochi.'"

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Lawrenceburg's Nick Goepper, who will represent the USA in Ski Slopestyle, is looking forward to the parade. "I'm so stoked," he said. "I heard it's a pretty long day.  I'm excited to just go there with my teammates and enjoy it, soak it all up."

Sochi has already won gold for the weather. The temperature will jump to the 50's over the weekend in the coastal area.

So let the games begin!

NBC Sports:  What to watch for in tonight's coverage