Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay reaches halfway mark
The Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay has passed the halfway mark as it continues its 123-day journey across Russia ahead of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
The landmark was celebrated in Tobolsk, on the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution, with 25 Torchbearers carrying the Olympic flame on a 5.3km route along the city streets, as well as in the grounds of the Tobolsk Kremlin – the only stone fortress in Siberia.
Among the Torchbearers were Alexander Nesterov, the president of the local volleyball club, teacher Anatoly Berezin, and Alexey Gorodetsky, a member of the Russian wheelchair basketball team.
The following day, the Torch Relay reached the Sverdlovsk region, visiting Nizhny Tagil and Yekaterinburg, where the Olympic flame was taken to the viewing platform of the Vysotsky business centre – the highest building in Russia outside Moscow, as well as the most northern skyscraper in the world among buildings taller than 150 metres.
The honour of carrying the Olympic flame to the highest point of the building was given to Olympic rhythmic gymnastics champion Irina Zilber and six-time swimming world champion Yuri Prilukov.
"It's so neat,” said Zilber afterwards. “Such indescribable feelings of joy and excitement, and touching something so important, great, and to some degree sacred.”
In Nizhny Tagil, the Torch Relay began in spectacular style at one of the biggest ski jumping centres in Russia, with Torchbearer Sergey Dyachuk – a three-time Russian champion in Nordic combined – landing in the arena after performing a jump from the 90-metre ramp before collecting the Olympic flame.
The Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay is now set to continue its journey across Russia on its way to the Opening Ceremony of Sochi 2014 on 7 February 2014.
The route has been designed to ensure that around 90% 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.
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/