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Sochi flame begins journey from Olympia

The Olympic torch was lit and began its 123-day journey from Greece to Sochi, Russia ahead of the 2014 Winter Games.
Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   Sept. 30, 2013 at 12:47 PM   |   Comments

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Sept. 30 (UPI) -- At an elaborate ceremony in Greece Sunday, the Olympic flame was lit and its journey to Sochi, Russia began.

The beginning of the 123-day journey marked the kickoff to the official run-up to the 2014 Winter Olympics, which start February 7.

Greek actress Ino Menegaki, dressed as a high priestess, used the sun and a parabolic mirror to light the flame at the Temple of Hera. The torch was passed off to 18-year-old Giannis Antoniou, a Greek Alpine skier, who is attempting to qualify for Sochi.

Antoniou then passed the torch on to Alexander Ovechkin, the Russian hockey player, star of the Washington Capitals and two-time Olympic veteran. Ovechkin skipped the Capitals' final preseason game Saturday, but will be back in time for the team's first regular season game Tuesday in Chicago.

The torch will travel through Greece until October 6, will then be flown to Moscow. It will then be carried through all 83 regions of Russia, covering 40,000 miles -- the longest relay in the history of the Games.

But the flame won't just stay in Russia -- it will travel to the North Pole on a nuclear-powered icebreaker next month, and in November, two Russian cosmonauts will take the flame to the International Space Station.

An estimated 14,000 people will carry the torch on its journey to Olympic Stadium in Sochi for the opening ceremonies of the Games.

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