Moscow: The Olympic flame reached Sochi on Wednesday, following a 65,000-kilometre route, the longest in the history of the games.
Let there be light: IOC President Thomas Bach hands over the Games torch to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Pic/AFP
During the journey, the torch relay reached the North Pole, went to the top of Europe’s highest mountain, plunged into the world’s deepest lake and was even taken into space by Russian cosmonauts. The torchbearers included a 101-year-old man.
The relay generated genuine public enthusiasm, featuring famous cultural figures, athletes and other celebrities, and drawing big crowds across Russia. It started in Moscow on October 7 and stopped at more than 130 cities and towns across Russia.
For most of the route, the flame travelled by plane, train, car and even reindeer sleigh, but about 14,000 torch-bearers took part in the relay. However, it has seen its fair amount of gaffes after repeated cases of the flame flickering out.
Distance covered during the Sochi torch route
Games Ambassador Maria Sharapova said, “Once I arrived here, I knew that all the athletes will feel extremely safe,” she said. “I certainly had my doubts before, because I've been reading a lot about the city itself. Over the last few months I've been reading a lot in the media and watching television, but now I've seen how everything has come together.”