SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Cities throughout Russia began countdown clocks Thursday marking one year until the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics begin.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin was joined by Olympic champions Svetlana Zhurova and Ivan Ukhov just off the city's iconic Red Square to start a clock counting down 365 days, RIA Novosti reported.
Similar clocks were also activated in St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirks, Pyatigorsk and Khabarovsk, the news agency said.
A special ceremony in Sochi is scheduled to begin Thursday evening at which International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge will officially issue invitations to the games to the national Olympic committees of Brazil, Canada, Russia and South Korea.
An ice show is scheduled for Thursday at the Bolshoi Ice Dome to illustrate Sochi's progress since being awarded the games in 2007, RIA Novosti reported. The show will feature approximately 300 artists, including Olympic champion figure skaters Alexei Yagudin, Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov.