Timed with the sunrise in Ancient Olympia, Greece, the Olympic flame-lighting ceremony on Sunday marked the start of a four-month countdown to the 2014 Winter Games exactly 132 days away in Sochi, Russia.
Organized by the Hellenic Olympic Committee, the lighting – made possible by the sun’s races and a parabolic mirror – kicked off the Olympic Torch Relay, in which the flame will be carried across Greece for seven days to Athens, where the first modern Olympic Games took place in 1896.
The torch will then be flown to Moscow on Oct. 6 for a 123-day trip through Russia: over 65,000 kilometers and through all 83 regions. According to a press release, the torch is expected to come within an hour of 90 percent of the Russian population before the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 7.
On his first official trip as president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach spoke at the lighting before high-ranking members of the Hellenic Republic, Greek IOC and Russian delegation.
“The flame lit today by the Greek sun takes on the responsibility for a peaceful celebration here and now; the torches will carry it into the Olympic future,” Bach said. “Thus the Olympic Torch Relay will be a messenger for the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect without any form of discrimination. In the coming months, this message will reach and inspire people from all walks of life. The goal and culmination of this journey will be the Olympic Stadium in Sochi. There, the Olympic flame will remind all the athletes, participants and spectators of our Olympic values.”
The Sochi Olympics take place from Feb. 7-23 with about 2,800 athletes from more than 80 nations. Some 12,000 media members are expected to cover the Games for an global audience “in the billions,” the press release stated.
FasterSkier will be there, with several reporters on the ground covering your favorite nordic events. As we get closer to the big event, we’ll also ramp up the coverage accordingly.
Here’s what we’ve touched on so far:
- Sochi Unveils Olympic Medals; How Many We Might Expect
- Sochi Warmup: What You Should Know
- The Implications of Russia’s ‘Anti-Gay’ Law
- Making the Games from a Non-Skiing Nation
- Eyes on Sochi: Rosie Brennan | Caitlin Patterson
For a video of the torch relay, click here.