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Olympic torch relay in full swing in Russia
October 8, 2013, 11:06 am


The Olympic torch route is over 65,000 km long [AP]

The Olympic torch relay has started in the Russian capital and is set to become the longest in Olympic history.

In 123 days the torch will pass through all of Russia’s 83 regions.

The Olympic torch will travel from Moscow to Saint Petersburg, and then further on to the Far East, looping around the Kamchatka Peninsula, down to Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean, and back west across southern Siberia via Lake Baikal.

It will also be sent to the International Space Station and to the bottom of Lake Baikal.

The route is over 65,000 km long and will involve 14,000 torchbearers and around 30,000 volunteers.

The torch will travel by plane, train, car, helicopter and even by sleigh.

On February 7, 2014 the fire lit in ancient Olympia in Greece, will finally arrive in Sochi where the opening ceremony of the XXII Winter Olympics will take place.

The Olympic flame landed in Moscow on Sunday and a grand ceremony was held at the capital’s major landmark – the historic Red Square.

President Putin who successfully bid for the Sochi Olympics described the event as “a special and joyful occasion.”

“The Olympic flame, the symbol of our world’s main sports event, and of peace and friendship, has arrived in Russia and in just a few minutes will begin its journey across our vast country,” said President Putin.

The relay has been organised so that more than 90 per cent of Russians will be within an hour of the flame.

“This relay will be truly unique. The Olympic flame will show the world Russia that we know and love, its diversity, size, originality, beauty, natural wealth, unique culture, and the achievements of our multi-ethnic people, who are united by their common goals and their pride in our great homeland,” the president noted.

The torch is currently still in Moscow and is travelling across the capital’s landmarks.

This is Russia’s first post-Soviet Olympics.

Daria Chernyshova with inputs from Agencies