By Nick Butler in the Ancient Olympic Stadium in Olympia

The Olympic flame was lit this afternoon for the Sochi Winter Olympic Games here in Ancient OlympiaSeptember 29 - In a Ceremony combining ancient and modern touches, as well as physical, natural and human elements, the Olympic Flame for the Sochi 2014 Winter Games was lit here this afternoon in front of a packed crowd, including newly-elected International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.

With glorious blue skies and warm, humid conditions throughout, there was a sense of juxtaposition between the scene here and the more wintry climate expected in Sochi next year.

Yet, from the moment the drum roll followed by the Olympic Anthem signified the start of the Ceremony those present, including Bach, witnessed a scene perfectly adhering to the foremost Olympic values.

Through the speeches and Ceremony, these values included friendship, unity and humanity as well as the message that the Olympic Games can help reduce tension and go some way to solving global problems.

After the Olympic, Russian and Greek anthems was a rendition of an extract from the poem "The Light of Olympia" by Takis Doxas.

Speeches followed from Bach, as well as others including Sochi 2014 President and chief executive Dmitry Chernysenko, and Spyros Capralos, President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee. 

A distinguished chosen few then departed to the Temple of Hera to witness the Flame Lighting Ceremony first hand.

The High Priestesses asked God for permission to light the Flame before it was lit with the sun's rays, reflected on a large parabolic mirror used to symbolise the Greek God's approval of the Ancient Games.

The Olympic flame begins its journey, in the arm of the High Priestess Ino Menegaki, from the Temple of Hera to the Ancient Olympic StadiumThe Olympic flame begins its journey, in the arm of the High Priestess Ino Menegaki, from the Temple of Hera to the Ancient Olympic Stadium

The Flame was then brought into the Stadium before a parade demonstrated the sports held at Ancient Olympia as well as a dance by the High Priestesses.

This dance, beautifully formulated by choreographer Artemis Ignatiou, passed in an energetic whirlwind of colour, energy and vibrancy, before the Torch was passed to Greek teeange skier Giannis Antonious.

A white pigeon was simultaneously released into the air.

Antonious then set off for almost a kilometre to, and around, a monument to the founder of the Modern Games, Baron Pierre de Coubertin.

The first torchbearer Yiannis Antoniou upon recieving the Torch from the High PriestessThe first torchbearer Yiannis Antoniou upon receiving the Torch from the High Priestess

He then passed the torch to the second bearer, ice hockey star and Sochi 2014 Ambassador Alex Ovechkin, who returned to the Stadium.

Ovechkin, the first Russian to carry the Torch, therefore ended the Ceremony and set in motion a four month Relay which will reach Russia following a handover to Sochi 2014 next Saturday (October 5) in Athens.

As well as the significance and visual beauty the speeches - and particularly that of Bach - added more useful insight into the heritage and future of the Games.

After explaining how a "combination of circumstances" had allowed him to choose Olympia as his first destination as President of the IOC, Bach outlined why the Games remain so special.

"On precisely this spot, thousands of years ago, the Greek people peacefully celebrated their unity in spite of their sometimes hostile diversity," he said.

"Pierre de Coubertin, whose heart is resting here in Ancient Olympia, rediscovered this unique gift of the Greek people to human culture after more than 1,500 years.

"He took the idea of the Olympic Games, breathed new life into it, developed it and, together with Greece, presented it to the entire world in 1896 - this is why especially here, in Ancient Olympia, we feel the breath of cultural history."

IOC President Thomas Bach meeting Russias first torchbearer Alex Ovechkin during the Olympic Flame Lighting CeremonyIOC President Thomas Bach (right) meeting Russia's first torchbearer Alex Ovechkin during the Olympic Flame Lighting Ceremony

After welcoming all of the Russian partners who were attending ahead of what he expects to be an "excellent Games" Bach sees the Olympic purpose as unchanged.

"Just as in Ancient Greece, the Olympic Games cannot directly settle political problems or secure lasting peace between peoples," he said.

"The Olympic Flame thus reminds us to be aware of our own Olympic limits; but it reminds us also to use the strength of our values and symbols for the positive development of global human society.

"The Olympic Games, the Olympic athletes and above all the Olympic Village can be a powerful symbol; they can set an example for peaceful coexistence and mutual respect.

"They should inspire the people of the world, and especially the political authorities, by showing them that quarrels and conflicts can be addressed with peaceful means, that we can transcend all boundaries to agree on global rules for human competition and conflict resolution."

This message has particular relavence when all the political events currently occurring in the world, from the conflict in Syria to the economic woes affecting countries including here in Greece, are taken into consideration.

The subsequent words that the Olympic message therefore "accuses no-one and excludes no one" is also revealing considering the ongoing furore surrounding Russian gay rights laws which some believe will disrupt the Sochi Games despite repeated message to the contrary.

Bach then explained how "in this sense, the Olympic Flame should be an inspiration for billions of people across the globe - which should transmit the sporting joy of living and encourage people to engage in sports activity."

He concluded by entering into the Sochi spirit by stating "as our Russian friends say: Poyékhali! Let's go! Bolshóye spasíba - Efkharistó poli. Thank you very much. Merci à vous tous."

Dignitaries and spectators alike gather for the Flame Lighting CeremonyDignitaries and spectators alike gather for the Flame Lighting Ceremony... where Thomas Bach's speech provided an early highlight

Similar messages were conveyed by the other speakers. 

Capralos described how the Ceremony "symbolises the spreading of a message of peace and fraternisation to all mankind" while Chernysenko summarised a  "message of peace" and a "global call for humanity, friendship and brotherhood."

A rare lightening of the tension was provided at the beginning of the latter's speech when he mistakenly welcomed President Rogge instead of Bach, before swiftly rectifying his error.

Yet overall the Ceremony once again illustrated the great power that the Olympic holds and it sets the stage perfectly for the journey ahead

The Torch Relay should provide many more opportunities for such emotion before the Opening Ceremony in Sochi on February 7.