Friday October 24, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
19o C
12o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Greece delivers Olympic flame to Sochi organizers

The flame that will burn at next year's Sochi Winter Olympics was handed over to Russia on Saturday in the marble stadium that hosted the first modern Games in 1896.

After a six-day trek across 33 towns in Greece's mainly mountainous northern regions, the flame that was lit last Sunday by the sun's rays at the birthplace of the ancient Games in Olympia was presented to Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak.

From its overnight perch on the ancient Acropolis, the flame travelled through Athens' streets before being carried into the stadium, built in 330 BC, by Greek figure skating champion Panagiotis Markouzios.

As he lit the golden cauldron encircled by priestesses in long, cream-coloured, pleated robes, the crowd erupted in cheers of «Russia! Russia!"

"We are especially emotional,» Hellenic Olympic Committee head Spyros Capralos said. «The flame, for us Greeks, is a piece of our country, a part of our history and a tight bond to our ancestors».

The flame was flown in special safety lanterns from Athens to Moscow on Sunday to begin the longest torch relay in the history of the Winter Games from the Red Square.

It will travel more than 65,000 km, looping around Russia's 83 regions on foot, in sleighs, hot air balloons and even on a trip to space, as Russia prepares to showcase its modern post-Soviet face.

More than 90 percent of the Russian population will be within one hour of the flame before the lighting of the Olympic cauldron takes place at the stadium at the Black Sea resort of Sochi on February 7.

"For me it is a great honor, responsibility and pleasure to be here tonight, on the land that gave birth to the European civilization and presented the world with the Olympic Games,» Kozak said.

"On this momentous day I am telling you with certainty that our country ... will succeed in fulfilling its commitment to the Olympic movement."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to deliver a «brilliant» Games to show how far Russia has come since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

But Russia has come under mounting international criticism over a new anti-gay propaganda law which critics believe is repressive and preparations for the Games will not be plain sailing for the Russian hosts.

Earlier in the day, a group of Greek gay activists raised the rainbow flag outside Greece's Acropolis museum in Athens.

"Russia receives the Olympic flame, a globally recognized symbol of humanitarian ideals,» the Athens-based gay rights group Colour Youth said in a statement.

"Yet the laws in Russia are far from the ideals of human rights when it comes to LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-gender, queer) people, who are tortured, abused and discriminated against. We choose not to be silent this day,» it said.

[Reuters]

ekathimerini.com , Sunday October 6, 2013 (22:07)  
Panathinaikos snatches point at Eindhoven
Greens succumb to first loss at Bayern
Roberto´s heroics make Kasami´s goal count
Third-division Irodotos punished heavily after fan death
Interior Minister accused of not paying his health fund contributions
The health fund for journalists (EDOEAP) said on Thursday that Interior Minister Argyris Dinopoulos, a former reporter, had not paid any contributions between 2009 and 2013 but continued to ...
EU leaders to support Cyprus over EEZ rights
European Union leaders are expected to express “serious concern” on Friday at Turkey’s breach of Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as it emerged on Thursday that a third Turkish warship...
Inside News
Tax rate cut in catering sector has paid off
The reduction in the value-added tax on catering has not only resulted in smaller-than-expected revenue losses for the state coffers, it has also stemmed the flow of restaurant shutdowns and...
Improvement in VAT collection
While Greece came top among European Union states in terms of improving its value-added tax deficit in 2012, it still ranks among those with the biggest problems in VAT collection. According...
Inside Business
COMMENTARY
Tension for tension’s sake?
It is evident that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan feeds off tension. He would barely have achieved as much as he has – and prevailed – if he had not been so keen to confront a series...
COMMENTARY
Defusing a crisis
The crisis in Cyprus is escalating rapidly and defusing it is an extremely delicate and complicated procedure that will inevitably lead to losses for the weakest of the two sides. The course...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Panathinaikos snatches point at Eindhoven
2. Greens succumb to first loss at Bayern
3. Tax rate cut in catering sector has paid off
4. Improvement in VAT collection
5. Just two banks seen to require more capital
6. Solidarity levy extended to 2016 in bid to meet targets
more news
Today
This Week
1. Strong winds hamper sea travel
2. TBEX brings together 800 travel bloggers in Athens
3. Samaras to represent Anastasiades at European Council meeting
4. Spanish unemployment lowest since 2011 as economy grows
5. Cyprus president to sit out EU summit due to high blood pressure
6. Arrivals show increase in January-June 2014 period
Today
This Week
1. The past, present and future of the Greek debt crisis
2. Coalition shooting itself in the foot
3. Greece’s closed society is central to its current malaise
4. Greece must stick to reforms, says Schaeuble
5. At least 11 banks to fail European stress tests, three in Greece, report says
6. Cyprus to block Turkey's EU talks after EEZ violation
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.