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Opening Ceremony Draws 3Bln Viewers

Roughly 3 billion people worldwide watched the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics on Friday, organizers said.

Another 40,000 watched the ceremony at the Fisht stadium in the Sochi Olympic Park, the statement said.

The three-hour show, which offered an epic overview of Russian history in 18 parts, involved a staff of 12,000.

Participants included opera star Anna Netrebko, ballet dancers Svetlana Zakharova and Danila Korsuntsev, and cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev and Svetlana Savitskaya.

Controversial pop band tATu, expected to perform at the ceremony, only appeared in the pre-show. The Russian Olympic team also entered the Parade of Nations to the mash-up of the duo's hit "Not Gonna Get Us" and Queen's "We Will Rock You."

Organizers estimated 1 billion people watched the previous Winter Games staged in Vancouver, Canada, and between 1 and 4 billion people followed the ceremony that kicked off the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.

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