The Olympic Torch Relay has taken on a flavor of the Caucasus Mountains in the past few days, as the Olympic Flame traversed Russia’s constituent republics in the North Caucasus. To find out how the Torch Relay was welcomed in Grozny, Nalchik, Magas and Vladikavkaz, read today’s report on the Journey!
January 28 — Ingush Republic
The Olympic Flame was carried to Magas, the capital town of Ingush Republic, be plane from Makhachkala. To the sounds of Lezginka, a fast dance beloved by all the Ingushes, five-times world boxing champion, regional Minister for Fitness and Sports Akhmed Kotiev lit the first Olympic Torch in Ingushetia. The Olympic Cauldron in Magas was set up at an elevation of 100 meters above grade – at the top of the Concord Tower, the tallest structure in Magas. Olympic boxing champion Rakhim Chakkhiev had to be hoisted to the top in a pillar crane to light the Cauldron.
January 28 — Chechnya Republic
On the same day, the Relay was welcomed in Grozny, where more than 80 Torchbearers carried the Olympic Flame, including some of the most famous Chechens — three-times Olympic freestyle wrestling champion Buvaisar Saitiev, famous singer and Sochi 2014 Ambassador Diana Gurtskaya and Chechnya Republic President Ramzar Kadyrov, who lit the Olympic Cauldron in Akhmat Arena, a stadium seating 30,000 spectators.
January 30 – North Ossetia Republic
Vladikavkaz was the 131st Russian city to welcome the Olympic Flame. Olympic Torchbearers here got traditional Ossetian treats as their welcome – cheese pies and delicious local beer – the equivalent of the traditional Russian “bread-and-salt” welcome. As many as 15,000 people participated in the celebration in the Spartak Arena. Famous athletes carried the Olympic Flame through the city’s streets, including Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling champion Khasan Baroyev and three-times freestyle wrestling Olympic champion Artur Taimazov.
January 30 — Kabardino-Balkaria Republic
In Nalchik, the capital city of Kabardino-Balkaria, the Olympic Flame was greeted by a flashmob, as several hundred people formed up as five Olympic Rings in the city’s central stadium. Weightlifter Khadzhimurat Akkayev lit the Olympic Torch in Nalchik, passing the Flame to Maria Kuchina, the track-and-field champion in Junior Olympic Games. All in all, 46 people carried the Flame in the Olympic Torch Relay across Nalchik. Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling champion Aslanbek Khushtov and acting head of government of Kabardino-Balkaria Yury Kokov lit the Olympic Cauldron in the local Spartak Arena
We are now exactly one week away from lighting the Olympic Flame in the Fisht Stadium in Sochi! Insider continues tracking the progress of the Olympic Torch Relay.