After the flame-lighting ceremony which took place at Olympia and a relay of approximately one week through Greece, the route on Russian soil began on 7 October 2013 in Moscow. From October 2013 to February 2014, it travelled through the 83 regions of the Russian Federation and visited major historic, cultural and natural sites in the country. To cover the large distances between the various stages of the Relay, a motorcade was used until St. Petersburg, a special plane between St. Petersburg and Vladivostok, and a special train in the southern part of the country.
At the end of October 2013, in parallel to the main Relay, an Olympic flame reached the highest point of Mount Elbrus, where a cauldron was lit 5,652m above sea level.
On 9 November, an unlit Olympic torch was taken into open space for the first time. Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazansky had the honor of going out of the International Space Station (ISS) and passing the torch in space.
On 23 November, the torch was carried 13 metres down into the depths of Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world, thanks to a specially designed burner, similar to the pyrotechnical devices used as warning signals at sea.
At the Opening Ceremony, the flame was successively relayed in the Stadium by four Russian athletes who had shone at the Olympic Games: Maria Sharapova, Yelena Isinbaeva, Aleksandr Karelin and Alina Kabaeva. Then, two other eminent Olympians, Irina Rodnina and Vladislav Tretiak carried it to the cauldron located outside the Stadium and proceeded to light it.
Start date: 29 September 2013, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 7 February 2014, Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi (Russian Federation)
First torchbearer: Ioannis Antoniou
Last torchbearers: Irina Rodnina, Olympic participant in figure skating (1972, 1976, 1980), gold medallist in Sapporo 1972, Innsbruck 1976 and Lake Placid 1980. Vladislav Tretiak, Olympic participant in ice hockey (1972, 1976, 1980, 1984), gold medallist in Sapporo 1972, Innsbruck 1976 and Sarajevo 1984, silver medallist in Lake Placid 1980.
Number of torchbearers: 250 Greece, 14,000 in the Russian Federation
Recruitment of torchbearers: The selection of torchbearers was made by the three main Relay partners Coca-Cola, Ingosstrakh and Russian Railways as well as by the administrations of the regions of the Russian Federation and the Organising Committee. Notable amongst the selection criteria were the requirements that the torchbearers be aged 14 or over and that they adhere to the three Olympic values of excellence friendship and respect. The oldest Relay participant was 101.
Distance: 2,000km in Greece, ~65,000km in the Russian Federation including 2,615km by torchbearers
Countries visited: Greece, Russian Federation
Description: The torch is shaped like a bird’s feather, as a reference to the phoenix, the fire bird which symbolises good luck and fortune in Russian folklore. The red recalls the uniforms of Russian sports teams.
Colour: Silver and red
Designer / Manufacturer: A team of Russian designers led by Vladimir Pirozhkov and Andrei Vodyanik.
Like for the torch, the shape of the main cauldron was inspired by the firebird. Close to the Fisht Stadium, in the heart of the Olympic Park, the flame burned for the Games' duration 50m atop a tower which represented the head of the bird. At the base of the construction, its open wings formed a circle of about 100m in diameter, where a fountain capable of producing a sound and light show and jets of water 60m high could be found.
The torch used by Irina Rodnina and Vladislav Tretiak to light the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony of the Games on 7 February 2014 was the same one taken into space in November 2013.
For the first time in its history, the Olympic flame reached the geographical North Pole. While the main Relay continued in Western Russia, an icebreaker set off on 15 October from Murmansk with an Olympic flame conserved in a lantern on board. This flame reached the geographical North Pole on 19 October and burned there in a cauldron during a ceremony.