Skip to content

Olympic flame lit, Ovechkin first Russian torchbearer

Sep 29, 2013, 12:34 PM EDT

The Olympic flame was lit today in Olympia, Greece, a significant milestone ahead of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

During an elaborate ceremony at the Temple of Hera, Greek actress Ino Menegaki, dressed as a high priestess in a flowing white robe, kindled the flame using sun rays reflected off a parabolic mirror. The first torch was then carried by Greek alpine skier Ioannis Antoniou, an 18-year-old who is attempting to qualify for Sochi.

Antoniou handed the torch off to Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin, who became the first Russian torchbearer. Ovechkin, a veteran of two Olympics and a three-time NHL MVP, skipped the Capitals’ final preseason game Saturday night in order to be in Greece. He will rejoin his team in time for the season opener Tuesday night in Chicago.

The torch will be carried through Greece until October 6, when it is flown to Moscow to begin its 123-day odyssey to Sochi.

The Torch Relay is to be the longest in Games history, covering more than 40,000 miles and including 14,000 torchbearers. It will span 83 different regions in Russia, but two highlights will come when it leaves the country: in October, the torch will voyage to the North Pole on a nuclear-powered icebreaker called “50 Years of Victory,” and in November, it will be escorted to the International Space Station by two Russian cosmonauts.

“Just as in ancient Greece, the Olympic Games cannot settle political problems or secure lasting peace between peoples,” said Thomas Bach, the newly elected International Olympic Committee President. “The Olympic flame thus reminds us to be aware of our own Olympic limits.”

The Opening Ceremony is February 7.

Latest Posts
  1. Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir to sit out season

    Sep 22, 2014, 3:41 PM EDT

    Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir Getty Images

    Canadians not ruling out return to ice dancing.

  2. Noora Raty plays men’s hockey in Finland; Shannon Szabados set to return to Columbus

    Sep 22, 2014, 2:49 PM EDT

    Noora Raty Getty Images

    Raty nearly did something two Canadian Olympic women’s goalies couldn’t do against the men.

  3. Skylar Diggins, 2 others cut after Team USA’s first loss since 2011

    Sep 22, 2014, 1:41 PM EDT

    Skylar Diggins Getty Images

    U.S. women must cut one more player before FIBA World Championships.

  4. Carolina Kostner called in for doping hearing again Friday

    Sep 22, 2014, 12:23 PM EDT

    Carolina Kostner Getty Images

    Figure skater to be questioned over doping by her ex-boyfriend, Olympic champ race walker.

  5. Kosuke Hagino: I’m trying to become like Michael Phelps

    Sep 22, 2014, 11:56 AM EDT

    Michael Phelps, Kosuke Hagino Getty Images

    World’s greatest swimmer on display at Asian Games.

  6. Scary crash at World Road Cycling Championships (video)

    Sep 22, 2014, 10:55 AM EDT

    Anna Van der Breggen Getty Images

    Lead cyclist hits fence, trailing cyclist breaks pelvis.

  7. Poland wins World Volleyball Championship at home, pandemonium (photos, videos)

    Sep 22, 2014, 8:35 AM EDT

    World Volleyball Championship Poland Getty Images

    Upset of dynastic Brazil sets off bedlam inside arena, outside streets for host nation.

  8. Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross complete perfect AVP season after wardrobe malfunction

    Sep 22, 2014, 7:35 AM EDT

    April Ross, Kerri Walsh Jennings Getty Images

    Walsh Jennings, Ross played with interesting keys looped through chains Sunday.

  9. Oksana Chusovitina, 39, eyes all-around at World Gymnastics Championships

    Sep 22, 2014, 7:08 AM EDT

    Oksana Chusovitina Getty Images

    Uzbekistan gymnast has competed at World Championships since 1991.

  10. Australia swim star Grant Hackett returns to training, dismisses Rio

    Sep 21, 2014, 8:31 AM EDT

    Grant Hackett Getty Images

    “I would be 36 for Rio. That’s probably just getting on a bit too much.”

  11. Wallace Spearmon fails drug test, banned 3 months

    Sep 19, 2014, 2:31 PM EDT

    Wallace Spearmon Getty Images

    Spearmon lost a 2008 Olympic medal due to disqualification and finished fourth in the 2012 Olympic 200m.

  12. Viktoria Komova out of World Gymnastics Championships, report says

    Sep 19, 2014, 10:21 AM EDT

    Viktoria Komova Getty Images

    Komova won Olympic all-around silver behind Gabby Douglas.

  13. South Korea hockey teams given spots in 2018 Olympics

    Sep 19, 2014, 8:49 AM EDT

    South Korea hockey Getty Images

    There was concern Olympic host nation wouldn’t be able to qualify in hockey.

  14. Carolina Kostner skips hearing in ex-boyfriend’s doping case

    Sep 19, 2014, 8:02 AM EDT

    Carolina Kostner Getty Images

    Olympic medalist skater could be called in for later hearing.

  15. Jens Voigt bikes 31.7 miles in 1 hour, breaks record

    Sep 18, 2014, 4:50 PM EDT

    Jens Voigt Getty Images

    Three-time Olympian rides into retirement by entering history books.

  16. Rio Olympic Village more than 50 percent complete

    Sep 18, 2014, 3:06 PM EDT

    Rio Olympic Village

    Work expected to finish in the first half of 2016.

  17. Ato Boldon’s track and field season awards

    Sep 18, 2014, 1:39 PM EDT

    Justin Gatlin Getty Images

    NBC Olympics analyst hands out athlete of the year honors and more.

  18. Yelena Isinbayeva set to return to pole vault training, report says

    Sep 18, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    Yelena Isinbayeva Getty Images

    Russian Olympic champion gave birth to daughter in June.

Featured video

Yogging a hit at Youth Olympic Games