Sports stars among Torchbearers as Sochi 2014 Torch Relay completes third week
Olympic gold medallists, world champions, Paralympians and even a Formula One racing driver have all recently taken their turn as Torchbearers in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay, which has now reached St Petersburg to complete its third week.
Among those carrying the Olympic flame in the 123-day relay, which will end at the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games on 7 February 2014, were Turin 2006 speed skating gold medallist Svetlana Zhurova.
"Every time I hold the Olympic torch in my hands, I have unforgettable sensations,” said the Sochi 2014 Ambassador. “The small part of the flame I ran with today through the Leningrad district, I will bring to Sochi with me!"
Paralympic silver medallist Alexey Lashmanov, London 2012 Paralympic triple jump champion Denis Gulin and Sapporo 1972 figure skating silver medallist Ludmila Smirnova all carried the Olympic flame through Gatchina, in Russia’s Northwest Federal District, where the celebration cauldron was lit by Russian Formula One driver Vitaly Petrov.
In St Petersburg, six-time Olympic cross-country skiing champion Lyubov Yegorova, Helsinki 1952 shot put gold medallist Galina Zybina, Russian international footballer Alexander Kerzhakov and Olympic figure skating champions Evgeny Plushenko and Elena Berezhnaya were among the 250 Torchbearers, while former world acrobatic gymnastics champion Elena Kirilova and Montreal 1976 Olympic canoeing champion Nina Gopova both carried the Olympic flame in Novgorod.
Elsewhere, Moscow 1980 rowing bronze medallist Svetlana Semenova, two-time Olympic rowing medallist Nina Cheremisina and Atlanta 1996 rowing bronze medallist Sergey Matveyev all participated in the relay as it made its way around the Pskov district, visiting landmarks such as the ancient Izborsk fortress and the largest Kremlin in Europe.
But sports stars aren’t the only ones enjoying their chance to shine as Sochi 2014 Torchbearers, others chosen to carry the Olympic flame include charity worker Tatiana Minina, doctors Vladimir Streltsov and Tatyana Azarova, engineer Konstantin Mikhailov and artist Boris Nepomnyaschy, who took part in the relay in Novgorod.
"This kind of event only happens once in a lifetime," said Nepomnyaschy afterwards. "It is with pride that I am running with the Olympic torch across the streets of my home town today. I am passing on well wishes of success to our Olympians.”
More information on the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay can be found at http://torchrelay.sochi2014.com/en/