With one year to go until the Olympic flame arrives in Russia ahead of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, the Organising Committee has unveiled the route of the Olympic Torch Relay, which will be the longest in Olympic Winter Games history.
Over the course of the 123-day relay, the flame will travel more than 65,000km by foot, car, train, and plane, as well as on a "troika" – a traditional Russian sleigh – with approximately 14,000 torchbearers expected to carry it.
The relay will visit more than 2,900 towns and settlements across all 83 Russian regions – from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok – and will come within an hour of 90% of the country’s population, meaning around 130 million people will be able to join in the celebrations.
The route will begin in Moscow before visiting several important historic, cultural and picturesque areas of Russia, including Yasnaya Polyana, the Russian part of the Curonian Spit, the Avachinskiy Volcanoes and the Kizhi Museum Reserve. The relay will then culminate at the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games on 7 February 2014.
Speaking at the announcement of the route, Sochi 2014 President Dmitry Chernyshenko said: "The Olympic Torch Relay is one of the most important and magical Olympic occasions. It continues the build-up of excitement ahead of the Games and as well as spreading the Olympic values to the whole country, we will be creating, as a nation, an important part of Russian history. I am sure that the Olympic Torch Relay will be welcomed by a wonderful celebration in every city it visits. The Sochi 2014 Relay will bring the entire country together, highlighting the diversity and beauty of Russia, particularly, for the people of Russia themselves. For one day during the Relay, each town or settlement that the Olympic flame visits will become the centre of attention and it will be a unique chance to showcase itself to the whole world".