As the Winter Olympics nears, the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic torch has been lit in ancient Olympia in Greece on Sunday. The torch-lighting commences the longest relay for any Winter Games in history. The journey for the Sochi torch will not only cross nine time zones in Russia to reach its destination, but will also take a trip to space, according to Yahoo! News in a Sunday report.
Ceremonially, Ino Menegaki – a Greek actress – portrayed a high priestess and lit the torch within seconds by the sun’s rays bouncing off a concave mirror where the ancient Olympics began – a ritual which was begun for the Berlin Games in 1936.
Sochi is a Black Sea resort which will be the first Russian city to have a Winter Olympics. The location is to receive the symbolic flame on Oct. 5, after it is relayed briefly in Greece – to begin a 123-day journey which will conclude at the Winter Olympics’ opening ceremony on Feb. 7, 2014. Specifically, the torch is to travel to outer space, the bottom of Lake Baikal, the North Pole, and to Europe’s highest peak – involving a record-setting 14,000 torch-carriers.
It has been reported that this is an extremely important event for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, as he is anxious to show the world how much progress has been made in Russia since the Soviet Union dissolved 22 years ago.
To date, the only publicity hitch to the impending event is the growing criticism – near and far – regarding anti-gay concerns in the nation.