September 27 - Ice hockey superstar and Sochi 2014 Ambassador Alex Ovechkin will be the first Russian, and second person overall, to carry the Winter Olympic Torch after it is lit here on Sunday (September 29).
The 28-year-old is one of the world's most high profile players and after starting his career with Dynamo Moscow he has enjoyed a hugely successful National Hockey League (NHL) tenure with the Washington Capitals since 2005.
He will make a flying visit here this weekend midway through his preparations for the upcoming season before returning in time for the Capitals season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday (October 1).
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and something I will never forget," said Ovechkin.
"I would like to thank the Washington Capitals organisation and all of my teammates for their support in enabling me to travel to Greece prior to the regular season."
As well as his club career, Ovechkin has also as won five World Championship medals, as part of the Russian national team, including gold in 2008 and 2012.
He was named in the team of the tournament at his debut Olympics in Turin in 2006 after scoring five goals..
However, after finishing only fourth overall on that occasion, and sixth four years later in Vancouver, he will be hoping for a first medal on home ice in Sochi next year.
He will become the second person to carry the Torch on Sunday after the Greek alpine-skier Ioannis Antoniou who was named last week.
It will follow the Ceremony here which will be attended by numerous Olympic figures including the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, who will be making his first overseas trip on Olympic duty since being appointed at the Session in Buenos Aires earlier this month.
The Torch will then embark on a meandering, sevenday journey around Greece, taking in over 20 towns, before a Handover Ceremony next Saturday (October 5) at the Panathenaic Stadium, which was built for the first Modern Olympics in Athens in 1896.
It will then depart for Russia where one potential Torch-carrier could be Alexander Ovechkin's mother Tatyana, winner of gold medals in basketball at both the Montreal 1976 and Moscow 1980, the only other occasion the Olympics have been staged in the country.
It will be carried through all 83 Russian regions and visit 2,900 towns and settlements before arriving in Sochi for the Opening Ceremony on February 7.
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