On 29 September 2013 the Olympic Flame was lit in Olympia, Greece, the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games. The professional ice hockey winger & ambassador for Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, member of the juries for the Coca-Cola Torchbearer Nomination Campaign Alexander Ovechkin yesterday travelled to Olympia to participate in the Olympic Flame Lighting Ceremony and the start of the Olympic Torch Relay. As part of the ceremony, upon the invitation of Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, Ovechkin became the first Russian, and second person to carry the Olympic flame.
The Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay is presented by Coca-Cola, OSAO Ingosstrakh, and OAO Russian Railways.
Traditionally, the Olympic Torch Relay commences in Ancient Olympia, Greece, where, historically, the Olympic Flame was lit on the eve of the ancient Olympic Games.
As part of the Ceremony, a theatrical performance took place in the ruins of the ancient Temple of Hera. During the performance, priestesses asked the Gods for permission to light the flame.
The Olympic Torch is always lit using the sun’s rays, reflected on a large parabolic mirror which is used to symbolize the approval of the Gods to host the Olympic Games. If the weather is cloudy, the Flame is lit using the Flame obtained during the Ceremony rehearsal conducted the day before.
The renowned Greek actress, Ino Menegaki, the third time played the role of the High Priestess and asked the Greek God Apollo to send the sun's rays to earth to light the Flame, and Zeus to crown the winners of the Games with laurel wreaths. The Priestess then lit the Olympic torch from the sun’s rays and passed the torch, and an olive branch signifying peace, to the first Relay torchbearer, the Greek alpine skier Giannis Antoniou. The Olympic Flame then was passed to one of the most celebrated Russian athletes, the ice hockey player Alexander Ovechkin. He became the first Russian torchbearer of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay.
The Lightning Ceremony in Ancient Olympia was attended by IOC President Thomas Bach, President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Spyros Capralos, President of the Russian Olympic Committee, IOC member Alexander Zhukov, President of Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee Dmitry Chernyshenko.
The Relay then begins its journey across Greece, which will see 250 torchbearers carry the Flame 2,000 kilometers through 33 towns and 23 regions of Greece over the course of a week. Torchbearers of the Greek Relay leg include Olympic gymnastics champion Ioannis Melissanidis, Olympic silver high jump medalist Niki Bakogianni, and Olympic bronze pole vault medal winner Georgios Roubanis.
The Greek leg of the Relay will culminate in a ceremony on 5 October in the Panathenaikos stadium in Athens, which hosted the first modern Games in 1896, during which the Flame will be entrusted to the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee by the Greek figure skater Panagiotis. The next day, the Olympic Flame will travel to Moscow where it will begin its journey across Russia in the largest relay in the country's history.
IOC President Thomas Bach said:
“The Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay is a symbol of the spirit and values that motivate the Olympic Movement. As the flame makes its way across the Russian Federation in the hands of 14,000 torchbearers, it will convey a message of peace and the Olympic values to the people of Russia and to the watching world. However, the arrival of the flame in Sochi, on 7 February next year, will not be the end of the story but merely the beginning, as the world’s best winter athletes continue to inspire the world through their actions and spirit during the Games. We wish the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay great success on its journey.”
The President of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko, noted:
“The torch lighting ceremony in Greece will be the starting point of Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay - the largest national Torch Relay in Olympic history. It will cover more than 65,000 kilometers and unite the country”.
The hockey player & ambassador for Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, Alexander Ovechkin said:
“Thanks to Sochi 2014 and Coca-Cola I am entrusted to carry the Olympic Flame. It is especially honorable for me to be the first Torchbearer of Russia. I'm very happy, and it means a lot to me. I am proud to be at the Lighting Ceremony in Olympia, which will start the biggest national Relay in Olympic history“.
Notes to the Editor
The Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay
The Olympic Torch Relay gets under way in Sochi on 7 October 2013. According to the organizers' calculations, 90% of the Russian population will be within an hour's reach of the Torch Relay route at some time or other, and this means that approximately 130 million Russian citizens will be able to watch or participate directly in the Relay. In total, it will cover more than 65,000 kilometers, including by car, train, plane, Russian troika and even reindeer sleigh.
The Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay is going to be the longest in the entire history of the Olympic Winter Games. During the Olympic Torch Relay, 14,000 torchbearers will carry the Sochi 2014 Olympic torch through 2,900 settlements of 83 regions of the country. The Relay will end with the Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony in Sochi on February 7, 2014.
Presenting Partners of the Torch Relay are Coca-Cola, OSAO "Ingosstrakh" and OAO "Russian Railways".
The Presenting Partners for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay
The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company is the largest producer in the world of non-alcoholic drinks products. It offers consumers more than 500 brands of carbonated and non-carbonated beverages. Along with the Coca-Cola brand, which is recognized as the most valuable in the world, the company's portfolio includes 15 brands, the value of which amounts to over one billion dollars.
Thanks to the largest distribution system in the world, consumers in more than 200 countries around the world enjoy Coca-Cola beverages. Every day, over 1.8 billion portions of the company's beverages are sold internationally.
Coca-Cola in Russia – Coca-Cola is one of the biggest investors in the Russian economy. Coca-Cola's level of investment in Russia currently exceeds 3 billion dollars. Beverages with Coca-Cola registered trademarks are produced at 16 modern plants located on Russian territory from Saint Petersburg to Vladivostok (including plants of companies "Multon" and "Nidan").
Coca-Cola Russia, which is an amalgamation of the company Coca-Cola and its partner-bottling company Hellenic, provides employment for over 15,000 highly qualified staff.
Over the course of over 100 years, participation of Coca-Cola company in sports events across the world has been and continues to be an integral part of the Company's policy and an important element of the business.
Since 1928, Coca-Cola company has been an irreplaceable partner of the International Olympic Committee.
The Coca-Cola Company is preparing to be a Presenting Partner for the Olympic Torch Relay for the ninth time. The Coca-Cola Company first got involved in organizing the Olympic Torch Relay at the Olympic Games of 1992 in Barcelona.
For more detailed information about the company's activities, please visit the following websites: www.thecocacolacompany.com and www.cocacolarussia.ru
Ingosstrakh Insurance Company has operated in the domestic market since 1947. In 65 years, Ingosstrakh has transformed from a small branch to a large company, a universal insurer at federal level, and is the leader in various types of insurance. Today, branches are located across the country, and there are offices in 310 towns and cities across Russia. Today, the insurance company's clients include over 12 million individuals and more than 400,000 commercial and state companies. Ingosstrakh’s high business reputation is confirmed by Standard & Poor's international rating agency and Russian agency "Expert RA".
The history of interaction between Ingosstrakh and the sports movement spans more than three decades. For Ingosstrakh, the Olympic Winter Games of 2014 in Sochi are going to be the second Olympic Games that the company has supported in our country. 32 years ago, Ingosstrakh was the supplier of insurance for the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, providing insurance cover both during the preparations for the Games and during the competitions themselves. Ingosstrakh actively participated in the insurance of Olympic venues which were constructed before the 1980 Olympics. At that time, the Olympic flame was also protected by Ingosstrakh: the company insured the athletes' torch relay. The policy was active throughout the entire Olympic Torch Relay.
More than 30 years since the 1980 Olympics, Ingosstrakh has again received this great honor. Since October 2010, it has been a Partner: the official insurer of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. Thus, for the second time in its 65-year history, the insurer is supporting one of the most important events in the world of sport: the first Olympic Games in the history of modern Russia, the mission of which is to unite the country, and demonstrate the beauty and diversity of Russia to the world.
OAO "Russian Railways"
OAO "Russian Railways Company" is one of the biggest transport companies in the world, with a network consisting of over 85,000 km of railway lines. Every year the company provides transit for a billion passengers and over 1.2 million tons of freight.
In February 2010, OAO "Russian Railways Company" became a General Partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2014.
The company is implementing a range of important projects related to the construction new railways and stations in the region where the 2014 Games are going to be held, all of which are designed to ensure transit of construction material and equipment during the preparations for the Olympics, and to take competitors and spectators to the competition venues.
All the projects being carried out by OAO "Russian Railways Company" are taking place at unique construction sites, and serve as examples of complex task-solution: they are being created taking account of "barrier-free environment" requirements, so that they can be used by people with disabilities, with the very latest technology and "green building" standards applied.
The infrastructure elements on which OAO "Russian Railways Company" is working will form the main component of the legacy left by the Sochi 2014 Games. The new railway lines and stations will significantly improve passenger comfort on rail journeys, and the volume of passenger and freight transportation by rail will increase.