Russian Icebreaker to Take Olympic Torch to North Pole

The "50 Years of Victory" icebreaker.
The “50 Years of Victory” icebreaker.

An Olympic organizing committee in Russia unveiled plans today to take the Olympic torch relay to the North Pole ahead of the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi this February.

To get to there, the torch will depart this October from the port of Murmansk in the extreme northwest part of Russia on board the nuclear powered icebreaker “50 Years of Victory”. Once at the North Pole, a lighting ceremony will take place and torchbearers from Russia and countries of the Arctic Council will take turns running alongside the icebreaker and over ice sheets before making their way, eventually, to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Cauldron.  In total the torch will cover some 3,100 miles on board the icebreaker.

This “special stage” of the torch relay is described as the most difficult part of the what is being called the longest torch relay in the history of the Games. The relay in total is expected to cover some 40,000 miles and involve 14,000 torchbearers.

“The Olympic Torch Relay will be the largest relay in the history of the Olympic Movement and the Torch’s journey to the Baikal, Elbrus and North Pole will be highlights of the Relay,” said President of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko. “The Relay will help demonstrate the need to conserve the unique natural landscapes of our regions as well as showcasing the beauty of Russia to the world.”

The relay is expected to under way in Sochi on October 7, 2013.