Russian stalwart carries Olympic torch at age 101

Dec. 7, 2013 at 10:59 AM
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NOVOSIBIRSK, Russia, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- A Siberian centenarian became the oldest person to ever carry the Olympic torch Saturday when he breezed through his leg of the relay across Russia.

Alexander Kaptarenko, 101, had no trouble carrying the flame 200 meters (219 yards) closer to Sochi where the Winter Olympics begin Feb. 7.

Kaptarenko had practiced for the relay in the streets of Novosibirsk in recent weeks by holding a frozen fish aloft as a stand-in for the torch, the RIA Novosti news agency said.

Kaptarenko, who was born in tsarist St. Petersburg in 1912, broke the previous age record of 100 years set in 2012 by Dinah Gould in the run-up to the London Summer Olympics.

RIA Novosti said Kaptarenko was a world-class table tennis player back in the day. He participated in several international tournaments, including the 2012 European veterans' championships in Sweden.

The Olympic torch remained on the move Saturday. Around 14,000 Russians will have transported the flame by the time it reaches Sochi.

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