September 28 - Alexander Zhukov, President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), has revealed here that the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Torch Relay will blend the Ancient and Modern Olympic traditions of peace, unity and friendship with "unprecedented and unique" elements.
Zhukov was speaking following this afternoon's final rehearsal for the Flame Lighting Ceremony, which begins the Relay and which will be held here on the site of the Ancient Olympic Games tomorrow.
The Russian, elected as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) earlier this month, was involved as a student volunteer in Moscow in 1980 on the only previous occasion that his country has hosted a Summer or Winter Games.
This makes him especially delighted to be so involved this time around and he sees tomorrows ceremony as the "beginning" of Sochi 2014.
"I would not have predicted in 1980 that I would become so involved because it was so many years ago but I am now very proud to be a member of the Torch Relay and to be part of it all so closely," he said.
"Everyone is aware of the significance of the forthcoming Ceremony.
"It is a centuries old symbol and attribute of the Olympic spirit with a key role in submitting values.
"Different races and religions come together to share peace, unanimity and friendship and Sochi wants to multiply these traditions
"Being a participant myself in the Relay I would like to highlight that it is a great honour for me and we hope that the Lighting of the Flame tomorrow will meet the expectations of everyone."
Following the main event the Torch will spend the next week travelling around Greece before a handover Ceremony in Athens next Saturday (October 5).
It will then depart for Sochi for a four-month relay which was described by Dmitry Chernysenko, the President of Sochi 2014, as an "epic journey from the Greek motherland to the cauldron in Sochi's Olympic Park".
The flame will travel 65,000 kilometres across the length of Russia, spanning all nine time zones and all 83 regions, and will be carried by reindeer, dog sledges and hot air balloons as well as the more conventional foot, car, train and plane."
It will also undergo a trip to space midway through the journey and it was revealed today that the very same Torch used in space will be used to light the flame in the Opening Ceremony on February 7.
"The route is designed to share the magic of Russia and demonstrate the beauty of our country," said Chernysenko.
"It will travel from the bottom of the Baikal Lake at depth of 1,600 metres to the top of Europe's highest peak on Mt Elbrus to the North Pole and to outer space."
"It will celebrate our history and our country, such as the home of Tolstoy and of diamond mines but will also be personality driven and will illustrate a new young Russia."
Although refusing to divulge any precious details, Chernysenko also predicted an "outstanding" Opening Ceremony and emphasised that the success of various test events in 2013 illustrates how ready the city is to host the real thing.
He also downplayed the impact of Russian laws supposedly reducing gay rights by insisting that "every race, religion and sexual orientation will be welcomed and we will have brightly coloured uniforms to reflect this."
Before the Games or the Torch parade however will be Greece's turn as the Torch crosses the country on a week-long journey.
Greece has never won a medal at the Winter Olympics
"We are not a major face in winter sports but since 20 snow centres we are hoping to create a basis for more success in the future," said Capralos.
He explained how athletes, such as the first Torchbearer tomorrow in alpine skier Ioannis Antoniou, are youngsters trying just to qualify for Sochi.
"They are not hoping for medals but what is important is being able to participate", he added.
Bach, whose native Germany hosted the Games the first time there was a Torch Relay in 1936, arrived this afternoon from Athens and has already attended the Archaeological Museum of Olympia with Capralos.
He explained the importance of a Torch Relay which he sees as "a symbol of the spirit and values that motivate the Olympic Movement."
"As the Flame makes its way across the Russian Federation in the hands of 14,000 torchbearers, it will convey a message of peace and the Olympic values to the people of Russia and to the watching world.
"However, the arrival of the flame in Sochi, on 7 February next year, will not be the end of the story but merely the beginning, as the world's best winter athletes continue to inspire the world through their actions and spirit during the Games.
"We wish the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay great success on its journey."
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September 2013: Greek skier Antoniou revealed as first Sochi 2014 Torchbearer
July 2013: Olympic champions and first woman in space among first named Sochi 2014 Torchbearers
June 2013: Sochi 2014 reveals Olympic Torch Relay Celebration Cauldron