Around the Rings: The Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay in Saint Petersburg

  • 28.10.2013 (11:38)
  • Events of Relay

On 27 October 2013, the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay arrived in St. Petersburg. The route of 35.5 km along the main city streets was run by 221 torchbearers, among them were nominees of the Presenting Partners of the Sochi 2014 Torch Relay, the Coca-Cola Company, OSAO "Ingosstrakh" and OAO "RZD".

The Sochi 2014 Torch Relay started on Victory Square. With a drum roll, majorettes greeted the first torchbearer, Galina Zybina, an Olympic Games shot put winner and the first Olympic champion in the history of the USSR. The athlete, who survived the 900 day siege, carried the Olympic torch alongside the memorial "To the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad", and the Sochi 2014 Torch Relay Motorcade went along Moscow Avenue toward the center of the city.

Against a backdrop of the Triumphal Gates, Sofiko Shevarnadze, a Russian journalist and host of the radio station "Echo Moskvy", ran with the Olympic torch. "I get butterflies in my stomach! It’s a sensation of complete joy!" Sofiko said as she shared her impressions before her Olympic section.

Having turned from Moscow Avenue to the shoreline of the Fontanka River, the Olympic Motorcade went along the main streets to Isaac Square, where an entertainment program had been prepared for the city's residents and guests by Presenting Partner of the Sochi 2014 Torch Relay, the Coca-Cola Company.

On Senate Square, by the Bronze Horseman monument dedicated to the founder of the city, Peter I, the Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky began his Olympic section of 160 meters.

St. Petersburg saw famous athletes, Olympic champions and winners of global competitions run today. For example, the Olympic flame was carried along the city streets by figure skaters Evgeny Plushenko and Elena Berezhnaya, skiers Nina Baldycheva and Lubov Mukhacheva, biathletes Anatoly Alyabyev and Dmitri Vasilyev, track and field athletes Tatyana Kazankina, Alexander Aksinin and Marina Stepanova, basketball player Ludmila Muravyeva, and gymnasts Alexander Dityatin and Elena Shushunova. Olympic handball champion Yuri Nesterov ran with the Sochi 2014 torch along Vasilyevsky Island and passed along the Olympic flame by the base of the Rostral Columns.

On the Petrograd side, Evgeny Plushenko passed the torch to Tina Kandelaki, a Russian journalist and TV host. " I am glad that, thanks to the Olympic Games in Sochi, people around the world have the chance to learn that Russia really is just what it was today - a country of unlimited opportunities!" the journalist remarked.

Then the Olympic torch was carried past the Petrovsky Stadium by Alexander Kerzhakov, Russian soccer forward of the Petersburg soccer club "Zenit" and the Russian national team.

Reaching the historical section of the city, the Sochi 2014 Torch Relay made a stop at the Peter and Paul Fortress, where spectators were greeted by Presenting Partner of the Torch Relay, OSAO "Ingosstrakh". The torchbearers ran through the fortress grounds, from which the history of St. Petersburg started back in 1703.

Musician Igor Butman celebrated his birthday with a run with the Olympic torch along the waterfront of the Griboedov Canal. At the day's conclusion, the Olympic Torch Relay went along Nevsky Prospect next to the Kazan Cathedral. Lubov Egorova, six-time Olympic cross-country skiing champion, delivered the flame to Palace Square, where thousands of spectators had already gathered in anticipation of the Olympic celebration. Together with the governor of St. Petersburg, Georgy Poltavchenko, she lit the Cauldron, which will forever remain as a keepsake for the city, thanks to Presenting Partner of the Torch Relay, OSAO "Ingosstrakh". The local sponsor of the final celebration for the Sochi 2014 Torch Relay on Palace Square was the Lakhta Volkswagen Center, the official Volkswagen dealer in St. Petersburg.

On October 28, the Sochi 2014 Torch Relay will continue in well-known suburbs of St. Petersburg through series of palaces and gardens from imperial times. Residents of Kronstadt, Peterhof, Lomonosov, Pushkin and Pavlovsk will greet the Olympic flame.