Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay returns to Europe from Asia
The Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay made the symbolic crossing from Asia back into Europe last week, as it traversed the river Ural on a tram decorated with the Sochi 2014 colours during the 11th week of the 123-day relay.
The Olympic flame then also completed a tour of Russia’s largest steelworks, in Magnitogorsk. Against a dramatic backdrop of giant cast-iron boilers and kilometres of pipelines, the Torch was carried through the plant, which produces 13m tonnes of steel each year.
During this, its third day in Russia’s Chelyabinsk region, the Torch was borne by Olympic rowing champion Igor Kravtsov and hockey players Sergei Golomyako and Evgeniy Koreshkov. During a tour of the city’s Central stadium, biathletes Ivan Kalyanov and Pavel Borisov skied with Olympic flame in their hands.
Later, Oksana Borzilo rode a snow-white horse along the street then handed the Torch to motocross champion Viktor Korzhov, who transported it on a quadricycle.
The day ended with Viktor Rashnikov, president of Metallurg hockey club, lighting the Olympic Cauldron following festivities at the Arena Metallurg Ice Palace.
The Torch had arrived in Magnitogorsk from the region’s capital, Chelyabinsk, where six-time Olympic skating champion Lidia Skoblikova and governor of the Chelyabinsk region Mikhail Yurevich lit the Olympic Cauldron in the ‘Tractor’ ice arena.
During its two-day stay in the city, the Torch was carried on skis, skates, by motorcycle – and even on a camel, a creature that is depicted on the Chelyabinsk coat of arms.
Riding the camel – called Barsik – was motocross athlete Eugene Zemskov, while the flame was transported on skis in the hands of Olympic biathlon gold medallists Svetlana Ishmuratova and Alexander Tikhonov. Motocross champions Alexander Platonov and Vitaly Tonkov completed their leg of the Torch Relay by motorcycle.
Taking to the ice with the Torch on its final day in Chelyabinsk was Innsbruck 64 bronze medallist Tatiana Sidorova. She skated with the flame in the ‘Ural Lightning’ Ice Palace skating venue, with the event culminating in an ice disco.
The Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay is now set to visit Ufa, capital of Bashkortostan, as it continues 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 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.
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