Russia's Maxim Trankov and Russia's Tatiana Volosozhar
Russia's Maxim Trankov and Russia's Tatiana Volosozhar perform during the Figure Skating Pairs Team Free Program. Photo by AFP
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Russia's Winter Olympics sprang into action on Saturday with the first full day of sporting contest, finally drawing the world's gaze from militant threats, a widely criticised "gay propaganda" law and an opening ceremony that did not go completely to plan.

The games officially got underway on the Black Sea coast on Friday with a burst of fireworks and a dazzling opening ceremony that President Vladimir Putin hoped would dispel fears of militant attacks and a row over gay rights.

Putin has staked his reputation on hosting a safe and successful games in the resort town of Sochi, where a high-octane show before 40,000 spectators at the gleaming new Fisht Stadium signaled the start of the full sporting program.

He was joined by leaders from China, Japan and about 40 other countries in a show of support despite an international outcry over Russia's "gay propaganda" law passed last year, which critics say curtails the rights of homosexuals. U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron and German President Joachim Gauck are not attending the Games, and the U.S. delegation includes openly gay representatives.