NALCHIK, January 30. /ITAR-TASS/. The capital of Russian North Caucasian Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, Nalchik, took over the Olympic Flame relay from North Ossetia’s capital, Vladikavkaz, on Thursday.
The Olympic Flame was brought by helicopter to a standby pitch of Spartak stadium.
The first Olympic torchbearer on the soil of Kabardino-Balkaria became an Olympic medalist in 2004 and 2008, merited master of sports in weightlifting Khadzhimurat Akkayev. Passing the Olympic torch to each other, ten groups of five Olympic torchbearers each were carrying the Olympic Flame around the stadium. Prominent athletes, winners of world and European competitions, public figures and best representatives of different economic spheres in the North Caucasian republic were granted an honor to participate in the Olympic relay.
“I am feeling like taking part in an extraordinarily important event,” gold winner of the Sydney Olympics in 2000, Greco-Roman wrestler Murat Kardanov said. “The Olympic Flame unites us not only with other regions in the country and the world, but also it is carrying through centuries the idea of competitions for the duration of which wars were halted,” the wrestler said.
Acting president of Kabardino-Balkaria Yuri Kokov and Olympic champion in 2008 in Greco-Roman wrestling Aslanbek Khushtov lit up the Olympic Flame in the cauldron. “The Olympic Flame has passed thousands of kilometers from Olymp Mount to magnificent Elbrus Mount, we are sure that Russian Olympic team will show highest professionalism and we wish our athletes high spirit, success and luck,” Kokov noted. “We are proud that the Winter Olympics will be held in Russia, sport means friendship, and it is a uniting factor in the whole world,” Khushtov said.
The holiday continued with a major theatrical performance. As harsh frosts of minus 14 degrees Celsius set in, female dancers were wearing downy coats and fur coats instead of zephyr shawls.
The Olympic Flame relay is running across the highest 5,642-meter European mount. Everest conqueror and president of the mountain climbing federation in Kabardino-Balkaria Abdulkhalim Olmezov and chief of alpinist club Nalp Karina Mezova, the only woman in this North Caucasian republic who climbed the highest mountain in the world, will lift the sport world symbol to the top of Elbrus.