olympics / russia / sports

Sochi flame lit in Greece

The countdown to Sochi is officially underway as the Olympic flame was lit yesterday in Greece, starting the long journey to Russia for the opening of the Winter Olympics on February 7, 2014.

Actors reenacted the traditional flame lighting ceremony in Olympia, Greece.

According to AFP:

The ceremony marked the start of a week-long torch relay, which will take it to 20 Greek towns before it arrives on October 5 at the old Olympic stadium in Athens, site of the first modern Games in 1896.

A Russian delegation will receive the flame at a night-time ceremony where one potential torch-carrier could be Ovechkin’s mother Tatyana, winner of gold medals in basketball at both Montreal 1976 and Moscow 1980, the only other occasion the Olympics have been staged in Russia.

It will be carried through all 83 Russian regions and visit 2,900 towns and settlements before arriving in Sochi for the opening ceremony on February 7 ending a 65,000-kilometre journey.

Human rights organizations around the world will be following the Sochi games closely, concerned over possible discrimination against LGBT athletes and supporters under the provisions of Russia’s “anti-gay propaganda” law.  The IOC recently said it was “satisfied” with Russian assurances that athletes will not be subjected to the provisions of the law.

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