One of the rings forming the Olympic Rings fails to open during the opening ceremony. Photo: AFP
Russian television chief Konstantin Ernst admitted that footage of the Olympic rings glitch during Friday's opening ceremony was doctored, but it was an open secret.
The ceremony, beamed to an estimated television audience of two billion, got off to a rocky start when one of five illuminated snowflakes suspended above the Fisht stadium - which were supposed to morph into the five Olympic rings - failed to materialise.
It is ridiculous to concentrate on one snowflake; it did not stop people from enjoying the show.
That left the embarrassing sight of four giant rings and one smaller snowflake dangling in a corrupted representation of the Olympic movement's defining symbol.
Snow-fake .... Russian president Vladimir Putin watches footage of the ceremony showing five 'complete' Olympic rings. Photo: Getty Images
But Ernst brushed off the incident and explained that organisers had already prepared for such an emergency after sweating for three weeks to get the image just right.
"The pictures were not edited," said Ernst, the powerful boss of Russia's Channel One TV. "There was a version that you saw in the crowd and a version that viewers saw.
"We realised that the fifth ring was not going to light up, so the mobile TV van sent a signal to the station and we decided to use footage we had already shot before.
"It's not a scandal; it's an open secret. It took us three weeks to make it work. One component failed but it did not insult anyone."
Ernst brought rousing applause from Russian reporters when he denounced Western media for trying to link the technical failure to Russia's ability to put on an Olympic Games.
"It is ridiculous to concentrate on one snowflake; it did not stop people from enjoying the show. Many people thought Russia could not put on such a sophisticated show.
"This showed the new Russia and how different we are from the previous years."