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As The Wire (and most outlets unconcerned with your archaic opposition to "spoilers") noted earlier today, one of the five Olympic rings failed to open at a key moment in the Olympic Opening Ceremony. For those watching at home though: no problem. The head of Russian television swapped in a non-flawed segment from one of the practice runs.

Shortly after the ceremony aired, there was some question about the two Associated Press photos below. The first shows Russian president Vladimir Putin standing in front of a TV showing the ceremony as the lights unfold from flower shapes into rings. The second shows the rings, blazing in all of their glory.


Which is not what it looked like in the arena. People in attendance saw this:

Why didn't Putin see that version? Because no one watching on TV did. Agence France-Presse quotes Konstantin Ernst, the chief of Russian television.

"The pictures were not edited. There was a version that you saw in the crowd and a version that viewers saw," said Ernst, the powerful boss of Russia's Channel One TV.

"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.

Organizers went through several practice runs of the whole program. Ernst made the decision to use that footage in the broadcast rather than the one that didn't work properly. By subbing in the unblemished ring opening, "it allowed us to show how perfect the rest of the show was," Ernst explained. "This showed the new Russia and how different we are from the previous years." To be fair, that's not entirely different.

The only question that remains: Will NBC make the same switch? Update: 8:30 p.m.: Nope.

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