July 8 - Twelve-time Olympic gymnastics medallist Alexei Nemov, triple Olympic synchronised swimming champion Maria Kiseleva (pictured) and the first woman to have travelled to space, Valentina Tereshkova, are among the first named Sochi 2014 Olympic Torchbearers announced today.
London 2012 Paralympic rowing bronze medallist Aleksey Chuvashev and Russian gymnastics coach Nadezhda Nabokova, as well as a popular blogger, a cardiovascular surgeon and a teacher, were also named among the 6,000 people who will carry the Flame for next year's Winter Games.
Chosen from a list of 140,000 candidates, the Torchbearers were selected because of their commitment to a healthy lifestyle and sports, and the Olympic values of friendship, excellent and respect.
In addition to representing all 83 regions of Russia, 136 of the Winter Olympic Torch Relay participants will represent foreign countries, including the United States, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Ukraine, Britain and Spain.
Although the final list of 14,000 Torchbearers will be revealed by the end of September, Sochi 2014 revealed today that more than 300 participants of the Relay are people with disabilities, while the youngest Torchbearer is 14 years old, and the oldest is 93.
"Residents from all regions of Russia will participate in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay," Dmitry Chernyshenko, Sochi 2014 President and chief executive, said.
"Everybody has had the chance to become a Torchbearer and every attempt has been made to represent a wide range of different backgrounds of candidates.
"The Torchbearers represent the best of Russia.
"It is a great experience to be a part of the Relay and it is something each city can get behind and feel proud of."
The Sochi 2014 Torch Relay, which is due to begin on October 7 this year, will be the longest in the history of the Winter Games, taking in some 65,000 kilometres across 2,900 towns in Russia's 83 regions as it travels by car, train, plane, Russian troika and reindeer sleigh.
It will also include a trip into orbit as it travels to the International Space Station before finally returning to the Black Sea resort for the Olympic Opening Ceremony on February 7, 2014.
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