The Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch concludes its record-breaking journey across Russia

  • 07.10.2013 - 07.02.2014
  • Events of Relay

The Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay completed its record-breaking journey across Russia on 7 February 2014.

The Olympic Flame visited the top of Mount Elbrus, the bottom of Lake Baikal, Yakutia and the slopes of an active volcano in Kamchatka on its journey. Before arriving in Sochi and heading to the Fisht Olympic Stadium, where it was used to light the Olympic Cauldron at the culmination of the Opening Ceremony.

The Presenting Partners of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay in Russia are the Coca-Cola Company, OSAO "Ingosstrakh" and OAO "Russian Railways".

Over 123 days, the Sochi 2014 Olympic Flame traveled a distance of approximately 65.000 kilometers by car, plane and train. The Sochi 2014 Relay visited 135 towns in 83 regions of the country. 14,000 torchbearers wrote their names in Olympic history, as one after the other, they carried the Olympic Flame along a distance of 2,615 kilometers.

Flame, a gift from the gods

The Flame of the XXII Olympic Winter Games in the City of Sochi was lit in Ancient Olympia during a theatrical performance played out in the ruins of the ancient Greek temple of Hera. During the ceremony, Greek priestesses, dressed in tunics and sandals, preceded the lighting of the sacred Flame with a traditional ritual. In her symbolic prayer to Zeus and Apollo, the High Priestess asked the gods to grant her with the sun's rays, from which she then lit her torch.

After the Ceremony, the Relay traveled over a week through the Greek mainland and islands; 250 torchbearers covered 2,000 kilometers through the streets of 33 Greek towns. On October 6, the Olympic Flame arrived in Moscow on a special Aeroflot flight. In the very heart of the capital, Red Square, it was greeted by the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, who launched the longest national Torch Relay in the history of the Olympic Winter Games. The Olympic Flame began its trip across the Russian regions in Moscow on 7 October 2013.

Relay for the whole country

The Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay is comparable to the size of Russia and as a result was huge feat. During the Relay, the Sochi 2014 Relay travelled across the country, crossing time zones and experiencing very different climates - from the sun to the snow. Despite the challenging weather conditions and the constant changes in time zones, the Relay strictly followed its schedule and its route.

For the first stage of the Relay, the Olympic Flame was driven around the central part of Russia and reached St. Petersburg in 21 days. Exactly 100 days before the start of the Olympic Games in Sochi, the Olympic Torch Relay Motorcade was greeted by the residents of Kaliningrad, the most westerly point of the Sochi 2014 Relay. From the shores of the Baltic Sea, the Olympic Flame continued traveling throughout the country's regions, but this time by plane. On board a special Aeroflot flight, the Sochi 2014 Relay team crossed the country from west to east, visiting 20 towns of the Russian Arctic with the Olympic Flame. 11 flights later, the Torch Relay arrived in Vladivostok, where it once again changed its principal mode of transport by boarding an OAO "Russian Railways" train. The team then experienced the most unique journey for the next 83 days, as they traveled through 85 cities and delivered the Flame to the Olympic host city of Sochi.

Getting to know Russia

The Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay has helped showcase iconic Russian landmarks to the world.

In the torchbearers' hands, the Flame has visited the imperial suburbs of Saint Petersburg, touched literary history on the Yasnaya Polyana estate and traveled along the famous Golden Ring. The Flame also travelled to the North Pole, Yakutsk, a volcano in Kamchatka, an oil field in the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Region, the largest diamond mine in Yakutia, boarded the legendary Krusenstern sailing ship in Kaliningrad and crossed the Arctic Circle in Salekhard.

During the second part of the journey the torchbearers travelled to the largest power plant in Russia, the walls of the Sviyazhsk island-town in Tatarstan and Tobolsk Kremlin in the Tyumen region, went to the Krasnoyarsk pillars, and looked into the famous Chelyabinsk steel and metallurgical plants. On the first day of February, it was announced that the Olympic Cauldron had been lit on the top of the highest mountain in Europe — Mount Elbrus.

The Sochi 2014 Torchbearers also chose unusual ways to travel with the Flame. They transported the Flame by motorcycle, bike, wakeboard, horse, carriage, Russian troika, dog sled and even on camels. The torchbearers crossed rivers and lakes in dragon boats, canoes, barges and fishing boats. In the north the torchbearers preferred modes of transport, which are common to the northern regions of Russia, including dog and reindeer sledding, snowboard, skiing and skating, hydrocycle and ATV, off-road vehicles and all-terrain vehicles, hovercraft and even an ice breaker.

Space Odyssey

The highlight of Relay was the journey the Torch took to the International Space Station. The unlit Torch was delivered to the International Space Station by the cosmonauts Mikhail Tyurin, Richard Mastrakkio and Koichi Wakata, while the cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazansky performed the role of torchbearers and took the Torch into outer space for the first time in the history of the Olympics and space exploration. It was this very same Torch that was used to light the Main Cauldron at the Fisht Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony for the XXII Olympic Winter Games.

The Unifying Power of the Flame

Approximately 11 million people saw the Flame of the Olympic Games during the Relay and in total, 111 City Cauldrons were lit for the final celebration in cities across Russia. 433 collection points greeted the torchbearers wearing the snow-white uniform, which was highlighted with the Sochi 2014 orange patchwork quilt.

Guests and citizens of the towns welcoming the Olympic Torch came out to support the Relay, with some dressing as life size puppets and Russian flags, whilst others performed national dances and songs or traditional rituals.

The arrival of the Olympic Flame in the Olympic Park of the Coastal Cluster signified the end of its outstanding journey and thousands of spectators were able to witness the last few legs of the Relay which had united Russians as they prepared to host Russia’s first ever Olympic Winter Games. 

Notes to the Editor

Olympic Torch Relay: Facts and Figures

The Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay is the longest ever in the history of the Olympic Winter Games: it was 1.5 times the length of the Earth's equator, and the Olympic Flame could have traveled from Moscow to London 26 times, or 8 times from Moscow to Vancouver. The Relay lasted 123 days, and the route was over 65,000 km.

According to several polls, the Relay was one of the most memorable events of 2013 for Russians.

Distances and transport

On an average day, the relay covered 534 kilometers. The longest non-stop stage of the Relay was from Norilsk to Yakutsk, when the Flame flew 2,055 km by plane

The first stage of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay was covered in a motorcade: the distance was 9,534 km along the roads of the Central and North-Western Federal Regions of Russia. The motorcade consisted of Volkswagen cars, and there were 31 vehicles. When moving between cities, the motorcade stretched 2.5 km.

The air segments of the Relay included 11 special flights, the first of which flew from St. Petersburg, and had number SU 7001. Flights numbers then increased by odd numbers: SU 7003, SU 7005 etc.

The air segments of the Olympic Torch Relay covered 17,308 km in 19 days from October 29 to November 16.

11 cities solemnly greeted the Relay plane, painted in the look of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games.

The Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay Train had number 701 and consisted of 10 carriages. During the rail section, the Relay covered a distance of 32,381 km, and 17,400 km were directly by train.

The solemn meeting of trains took place in 51 Russian cities, from Vladivostok to Sochi.

The relay involved a considerable amount of alternative transportation: The Olympic flame was carried by a troika, reindeer and dog sleds, a camel, a hot-air balloon, a carriage, sky-jet, amphibious boat, kayak, boat, icebreaker, bicycle, motorcycle, gyrocycle, wakeboard, quad bike, roller skis, snowmobile, off-road vehicle and a snow and swamp vehicle.

The Flame traveled 6.5 km in a cart drawn by a Russian troika, 4 km by cable car, 128 km on the water, of which 450 m were covered by swimming torchbearers.

In Tver, during the stage on the Volga river, the Olympic Flame was accompanied by 100 large and small boats.