The Olympic flame has been carried underwater in Lake Baikal – the world’s deepest lake – as part of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay.
The special event – which follows the Olympic torch’s expeditions to the North Pole and outer space – saw three Torchbearers in full diving gear pass the flame to each other at a depth of 13 metres.
Before the spectacular underwater relay, nine Torchbearers, who were greeted by traditional Cossack dancers and a theatrical troupe, had carried the Olympic flame through Taltsy, before reaching the town’s pier, where the flame was transferred to a special boat.
After travelling along the Angara River, the boat reached Lake Baikal, where the first Torchbearer – TV presenter and biologist Ivan Zatevakhin – passed the Olympic flame to diver Nicholay Rybachenko, an employee of the Baikal search-and-rescue team of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations.
Rybachenko then took the lit Torch below the surface of Lake Baikal, to a depth of 13 metres, before passing the Olympic flame to TV presenter Ekaterina Andreeva, who then transferred the flame to Aleksandr Vronsky, a senior vice president of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee.
The Olympic flame was able to stay lit during the dive thanks to a special burner, which was designed and developed in a similar way to flares used for warning signals at sea.
As the last underwater torchbearer, Vronsky brought the flame to the surface of the lake and passed it to Mikhail Chuev, who spectacularly rocketed over the lake at a height of 10-metres using a special jetpack, which allowed him to bring the lit Torch directly to the shore.
There, he passed the flame to rhythmic gymnast Daria Dmitrieva – the all-around silver medallist at the London 2012 Olympic Games – before all the Torchbearers were greeted by local residents and the governor of the Irkutsk Region, Sergey Eroschenko, in the town of Listvyanka.
More information on the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay can be found at http://torchrelay.sochi2014.com/en/