Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sochi Olympic Flame Begins Sojourn

Passing the Olympic flame to Ioannis Antoniou

The Olympic flame destined to light the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics was lit  on September 28th  in southern Greece.   At the Temple of Hera, the birthplace of the ancient Olympics, an actress garbed as high priestesses invoked Apollo, the ancient Greek god of the sun, as she lit the Olympic flame using  the suns rays (with the assistance of a parabolic mirror).

The flame was passed off to 18 year old Greek alpine skier Ioannis Antoniou. The first Russian relay runner in this 40,000 mile 123 day odyssey was Alex Ovechkin, of the NHL's Washington Capitals.

Alex Ovechkin, the first Russian relay Olympic torch bearer

Carrying the Olympic torch fulfilled a dream for the 28 year old superstar Capital's Winger.  As Ovechkin said: "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and something I will never forget."   Ovechin's enthusiasm was evident from his Instagram photo shared via Twitter.

But Ovechkin had to hurry back from Europe in order to play in the Capital's regular season opener against the Chicago Black Hawks in three days time.  This will not be the only time which professional obligations and Olympic ambitions will intersect for Ovetchin this season.  Fortunately, the NHL is taking a fortnight holiday in February 2014 so that NHL players can compete for their national teams in the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The torch relay  will travel through the nine time zones in the Russian Federation and be carried by 14,000 torch bearers.  The Olympic torch will travel from the bottom of Lake Baikal, Europe's highest mountain Mount Elbrus and will even travel to the International Space Station to be taken on a space walk  by two cosmonauts. 
Relay route for the 2014 Olympic torch relay in the Russian Federation 

However,  it should be noted that cosmonauts Sergei Ryazansky and Oleg Kotov will only carry the torch and not the flame. 

The Olympic flame will arrive in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi in the Russian Federation on February 7th, 2014 for the 22nd Winter Olympiad. 

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