One of the Olympic rings fails to open during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip )

SOCHI, Russia–The 40,000 Russians who filled Fisht Stadium for Sochi’s Opening Ceremony collectively cringed when the fifth of five giant snowflakes failed to morph into an Olympic ring, as scripted. It was a glaring technical glitch in a highly orchestrated pageant, leaving puzzling spectators gazing at four shimmering Olympic rings linked to a snowflake.

Russian TV viewers, however, were spared the embarrassment. A few seconds’ delay gave producers the chance to insert footage from a rehearsal in which all five snowflakes magically turned into five Olympic rings.

Queried about the editing sleight of hand during a media briefing Saturday morning, Mark Adams, International Olympic Committee director of communications, made no apologies.

“I thought it was a great show,” Adams said. “Some TV stations decided to do one thing, some another. But it was a fantastic show. Having just watched it on television for the first time, you know what, it was brilliant in the stadium; it was even better of television.

“So some people decided to take some other footage, and some not. It is a very technical opening ceremony, very well organized and so on. But the show itself was a fantastic one, and actually people enjoyed it. I don’t actually see kind of what the problem is, to be honest.”