February 3, 2014
Using the most unusual types of transportation, from reindeer sleighs to nuclear-powered icebreakers and space rockets, the Sochi Olympic torch travelled through Russia with torchbearers experiencing many once-in-a-lifetime moments.
Among the most notable events during the relay, Olympic torchbearers even climbed the highest peak of Europe - Mount Elbrus.
Having conquered the 5,642 meter height, the torch took a dive in the deepest freshwater lake in the world – Lake Baikal.
From boat to shore the torch was taken by the daredevil Mikhail Chuyev on a jet pack – a scene one might expect out of a James Bond movie.
Still, even taking the flame underwater wasn’t the biggest challenge.
Organizers ultimately decided to send the torch into outer space. Not only did the Olympic symbol visit the International Space Station, but it was taken out for a spacewalk.
A space ship wasn’t the only high-tech transport used to carry the flame. A nuclear-powered icebreaker, the 50 Let Pobedy (50 Years of the Victory), smashed through Arctic ice to carry the torch to the North Pole- the first ever journey in the history of the Olympic torch relay to the top of the world.
Speaking of the North Pole, Christmas reindeer may come to mind. Near the Siberian city of Yakutsk, the Olympic torch was taken for a ride in a reindeer sleigh.
Many people associate Russia with freezing temperatures and a lot of snow. Few would expect camels as means of transportation during the Russian relay, however. Torchbearers riding camels in the Russian Caspian Sea port of Astrakhan took many by surprise.
Torchbearers skied, ice skated, snowboarded and even rode a zipline in the relay from the capital Moscow to the southern resort city Sochi.
There was no stopping the athletes from taking part in a once in a lifetime experience. A 101-year-old table tennis player Alexander Kaptarenko, who was born under the Tsars and outlived the Soviet Union, became the oldest torchbearer in the history of the Olympic relay.
Elena Saprygina later carried the Olympic flame on her wheelchair in a sport center in the Siberian city of Tomsk.
A group of daredevil ice-swimmers in Blagoveshchensk took a dip in the freezing cold Amur River, covered with ice with one hand held up, proudly holding the Olympic flame.
Surely it wouldn’t have been a Russian relay if the Olympic flame didn’t visit the heart of Moscow – the Kremlin.
Though there were some setbacks, as the flame went out near the red-brick Kremlin walls. Fear not, though, as there is always someone nearby with a zippo in a pocket to relight the flame.