MOSCOW, October 4 (R-Sport) – The first torchbearer for the Sochi 2014 Winter Games relay, to start on Red Square on Monday, will be five-time Olympic synchronized swimming gold medalist Anastasia Davydova, organizers have said.
Davydova, 30, is the world's most decorated synchronized swimmer and retired after winning the last of her gold medals in London last year.
“I want to give my gratitude for the right to start the Moscow stage of the relay,” Davydova said. “I’m proud that I’ll be able to become a part of the history while running with the torch.”
The flame was lit in Olympia on Sunday and is currently touring 33 Greek towns. It will arrive in the Russian capital on Sunday and tour the Kremlin before the official start of the record-breaking 65,000-kilometer relay.
The Moscow leg will last two days and involve about 300 torchbearers, including hockey legend Vyacheslav Fetisov and other Olympic champions such as figure skater Irina Rodnina and gymnast Svetlana Khorkina, as well as Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov.
The relay will then veer north to St. Petersburg before flying east and eventually looping around the Kamchatka Peninsula, down to Vladivostok and back across southern Siberia via Lake Baikal, the world’s largest freshwater lake.
On its way through more than 2,900 towns in Russia’s 83 regions, the torch will make its way back into European Russia, winding down to the Black Sea resort of Sochi for the opening ceremony on February 7, 2014.
The cauldron is to be lit by a torch that will be taken into space.