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Sochi 2014 Flame lit in Olympia kicking off record-breaking torch relay

Published time: September 27, 2013 23:55
Edited time: September 29, 2013 17:47

Greek actress Ino Menegaki (front), playing the role of High Priestess, raises a torch with the Olympic flame during a lighting ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games at the site of ancient Olympia in Greece September 29, 2013 (Reuters / Yorgos Karahalis)

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Kindled by the sun’s rays, the Olympic torch was lit on Sunday in the ancient Greek city of Olympia. In a ceremony filled with mystery and tradition, the torch began its 65,000-kilometer journey to the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics 2014.

The ceremony included a theatrical performance in the ancient Temple of Hera during which priestesses asked the Greek God Apollo to send the sun's rays to earth to light the flame of the Olympic Games. The main condition of the ceremony is the absence of any artificial sources of fire. The Olympic Torch is always lit using the sun’s rays, reflected on a large parabolic mirror which is used to symbolize the approval of the Gods to host the games.

RIA Novosti / Mikhail Voskresenskiy

Apart from the main torch, the flame also lit special lamps to store the Olympic fire in case the main flame or even a fire at the Games themselves will go out for any reason.

After the flame was kindled women dancers performed the ancient “Dance of the Nymphs" and male dancers the "Feast dance without weapons", signifying the rejection of hostilities during the Olympic Games.

Watch the video of the Flame Lighting Ceremony

Video: /files/news/20/97/50/00/original_892108_torch_all.mov.mp4

Greek actress Ino Menegaki acting as the high priestess passes the Olympic Flame at the Temple of Hera on September 29, 2013 during the lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia (AFP Photo / Aris Messinis)

“We hope that the light sends a message to all the countries about the Olympic truce,” the choreographer of the ceremony told RT.

The flame was handed to the first torchbearer, Greece’s 18-year-old alpine skier Ioannis Antoniou. Once he finishes his stretch of the relay, Antoniouwill pass the symbol of the modern Olympics to the first Russian relay runner, the ice hockey star Aleksandr Ovechkin.

Aleksandr Ovechkin (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Voskresenskiy)

250 torchbearers will carry the flame 2,000 kilometers through 33 towns and 23 regions of Greece until October 5, when it arrives at the old Olympic stadium in Athens, the site of the first modern Games in 1896, where the Russian delegation of the 2014 Sochi winter games will receive the torch.

The Russian route, which is expected to last 123 days, will start on October 6 in the capital Moscow.

Greek actress Ino Menegakie acting as the priestesses passes the flame to the first torch bearer, Greek skier Giannis Anoniou, at the Temple of Hera on September 29, 2013 during the lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia (AFP Photo / Louisa Gouliamaki)

The marathon will be the longest in the history of the Winter Games, with 14,000 runners are scheduled to carry the torch through 2,900 towns across Russia's 83 regions by car, train, plane, Russian troika and reindeer sleigh, said head of the Sochi 2014 organizing committee Dmitry Chernyshenko on Saturday.

"In Russia, the torch will be lowered into the water of the Lake Baikal and will visit the highest point in Europe Mount Elbrus,” said Chernyshenko, adding that to the North Pole the Olympic flame will be delivered on a nuclear icebreaker.

RIA Novosti / Mikhail Voskresenskiy

Ninety percent of the Russian population will be within an hour's reach of the Relay, he added.

The Sochi 2014 committee  also confirmed that the torch will be the first in history to travel in space, approximately 400km to the International Space Station (ISS) on board of the Soyuz TMA-11M manned spaceship.

Greek actresses perform at the Temple of Hera on September 29, 2013 during the lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame in ancient Olympia (AFP Photo / Aris Messinis)

"Nobody has done this before. The spacewalk by two Russian cosmonauts with the Sochi 2014 Olympic torch will be a historic moment in the history of the Olympic torch relay," said head of the organizing committee at a press conference dedicated to the event.

The runners humbled by the experience will deliver the flame to the host city of Sochi on February 7 on the opening day of the Winter Games to a worldwide television audience of billions.

Greek actress Ino Menegaki (R) acting as the high priestess holds the Olympic Flame at the Temple of Hera on September 29, 2013 during the lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia (AFP Photo / Aris Messinis)

Greek actresses perform at the Temple of Hera on September 29, 2013 during the lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame in ancient Olympia (AFP Photo / Aris Messinis)

Comments (13)

 

snezana omorac narkolepsija 06.10.2013 16:42

[quote name='bernard todd']I believe this event could be good for Russia[/quote]

This even will be a huge embarrasement as many countries an athletes rub Russia's nose in their opressive anti-gay (actually anti-free-speech) legislation. There will be many pictures and news reports of the arrests of people protesting in good concious - both foreign visitors and athletes alike. Watch for rainbows appearing in many country's uniforms.

P lus, expect to be hearing a whole lot about P*ssy Riot.

Sochi will be a PR sh*tastrophy for Russia.

 

Pezzero 30.09.2013 09:02

After spending all these Billions of dollars on Sochi, Why is there NO Help for what so ever from Putin's Government for the Russian Flood Victims in Far East?

 

Pezzero 30.09.2013 08:56

Russians are spending $52 Billion Dollars on Sochi Winter Olympics 2014. While if one travels 120 Km. out of Moscow the people are living in deplorable conditions as they have lived before Russian Revolution of 1918.

View all comments (13)
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