MOSCOW, October 5 (R-Sport) - Russian President Vladimir Putin is to take part in a ceremony on Red Square on Sunday devoted to the start of the Sochi 2014 Olympic torch relay, the Kremlin has announced.
The flame was lit in a traditional ceremony in Ancient Olympia, Greece, last Sunday and after a tour of 33 towns and cities will be transported from Athens to Moscow later Saturday.
A day before the flame embarks on a record-breaking 65,000km journey around Russia, Putin will oversee a ceremony on Sunday welcoming the Olympic symbol to the capital, the Kremlin said.
The first torchbearer for the relay on Monday will be five-time Olympic synchronized swimming gold medalist Anastasia Davydova, organizers have said.
The Moscow leg will last two days and involve around 300 torchbearers, including hockey legend Vyacheslav Fetisov and other Olympic champions like figure skater Irina Rodnina, 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.