Winter Torch Relay

The first Olympic torch relay was conducted for the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. For the Winter Olympics, the first relay was held for the Games in Oslo in 1952.

In 1952 the torch relay was conducted by 94 participants entirely on skis, and the Olympic Flame was lit by skiing pioneer Sondre Nordheim.

Early torch relays did not start from Olympia. This first relay in 1952 started in the valley of Morgedal in Norway, the region considered as the birthplace of skiing. The relay for the Winter Games only begun in Olympia since Innsbruck Games in 1964.

At the 1956 Winter Olympics opening ceremony the final torch bearer, Guido Caroli, entered the Olympic Stadium on ice skates. As he skated around the stadium his skate caught on a cable and he fell, nearly extinguishing the flame.

After protests marred previous relay legs through various countries, in 2009 the International Olympic Committee announced that future torch relays could be held only within the country hosting the Olympics after the initial Greek leg.

The Torch in Space

The Winter Olympic Torch in 2014 will also travel in space - one leg of the relay will involve a space walk by Russian cosmonauts. The Summer Games torch (but not the flame), has been taken into space by astronauts in 1996 and 2000.

2014 Torch Relay

The 2014 torch relay will be the longest relay in Winter Olympics history. The torch relay will start on October 7, 2013, and run for 123 days. The relay will travel 65,000km from Moscow to Sochi through 2,900 towns and villages across all 83 regions of Russia by foot, car, train, plane and "troika". Greek alpine skier Ioannis Antoniou will be the first torchbearer of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay.

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