Muscovites turn out in force to cheer Olympic Torch Relay
The Olympic flame received a warm welcome throughout Moscow on its two-day tour of the city, as the Olympic Torch Relay began its 65,000km journey around Russia ahead of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
More than 60,000 Muscovites lined the streets on Monday 7 October as the Olympic flame began the day at Vasilievsky Spusk (Basil’s Descent), where the Mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, lit the torch before handing it to Anastasiya Davidova – the only five-time Olympic champion in synchronised swimming.
The torch then made its way through the streets of the Russian capital, with the 33km route encompassing sights such as Red Square, the embankments of the Moskva River, Gorky Park, the Lomonosov Moscow State University and Vorobyovy Gory (Sparrow Hills).
It was carried by 241 Torchbearers throughout the day, including two-time Olympic gymnastics champion Svetlana Khorkina, Alexander Zhukov, the President of the Russian Olympic Committee, IOC Member Prince Albert II of Monaco, and legendary Soviet ice hockey player Vladislav Tretyak.
Other Torchbearers included actor Vladimir Zeldin, professional boxer Kostya Tszyu, singer Dima Bilan and a group of nine children suffering from cancer.
The first of the 123 days of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay ended with a celebration at Vorobyovy Gory. Along the streets and boulevards, residents and visitors of the city came out in force to welcome the torchbearers.
The last torchbearer of the day, the Russian TV presenter Ivan Ugrant, carried the Olympic flame to the observation deck of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, where visitors and residents of the city were greeted with the entertainment programme “Moskva Zazhigaet!” (Moscow lights up!).
The following day, the Olympic Torch Relay continued its journey across the streets of Moscow, with more than 250 Torchbearers carrying the Olympic flame as it made its way along the Kutuzovsky Prospect and Park Pobedy, past the Universitetsky Prospect and across Ploshad Evropy.
The 45km route began with Russia’s two-time Paralympic swimming champion Olesya Vladykina carrying the Olympic flame, with other Torchbearers including actor Oleg Menshikov, Paralympic skier Sergei Shilov and renowned Russian pop singer Iosif Kobzon.
“It’s such a joy, I’m so overwhelmed with positive emotions,” said Kobzon. “But my grandchildren are even more proud than me.”
The day ended with further celebrations in Red Square, with the Olympic flame set to continue its journey around Russia on 9 October, as it visits every region of the country on its way to the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi on 7 February.
The route has been designed to ensure that around 90 per cent of Russia's population will be within an hour of the Relay at some stage, allowing approximately 130 million residents to participate in the event. More than 30,000 volunteers are also expected to participate in the Relay.
Find out more about the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay Presenting Partners at http://torchrelay.sochi2014.com/en/partners
More information on the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay can be found at http://torchrelay.sochi2014.com/en/