101-year-old Russian man uses frozen salmon for Sochi relay practice

Nov. 23, 2013 at 12:33 PM

NOVOSIBIRSK, Russia, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- A plucky Siberian centenarian says a frozen salmon has helped him prepare to take part in the Olympic torch relay to Sochi for the Winter Games.

Alexander Kaptarenko, 101, says he has been getting in shape for his leg of the relay by using a frozen-stiff humpback salmon as a stand-in for the Olympic flame.

"This guy, Ruslan, gave me four small dumbbells, half a kilo each, but they're hard to hold, while a fish, big and all, can be held by its tail, thank God," Kaptarenko told Russia's RIA Novosti news agency.

Kaptarenko has been doing road work in the streets of Novosibirsk carrying the 2.9-kilogram (6.4 pound) "torch" in preparation for his upcoming turn.

"Nobody gave me a torch (to train with), they didn't even promise one, and you need train," he told RIA Novosti. "But how do you train?"

Despite his diligent practice, Kaptarenko was hoping the relay organizers would shorten the distance of his leg from the standard 200 meters (219 yards) down to 50 (54.6 yards).

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