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MOSCOW, February 7 (Itar-Tass) – The clock, which was installed on the Manezh Square in downtown Moscow, started the countdown to the beginning of the Sochi Olympics on Thursday. Exactly one year is left until the Winter Olympics in 2014, the countdown started at 11:00 Moscow time from the position of 364 days 23 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds. The clock has the second chronometer, which counts down the time until the Winter Paralympic Games. The Winter Paralympics is to begin in Sochi in a month after the beginning of the Olympics.
The Moscow clock was installed to the right of the dome of the underground shopping centre Okhotny Ryad. The parameters of the chronometer: height - about 6 metres, width - 2.2 metres, length - 4.4 metres. The structure occupies an area of almost 8 metres. Its weight is 7.8 tonnes. Incidentally, the countdown clock was installed in the place where the chapel in memory of the Russian soldiers who died during the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878 was located in 1883. The clock has front and back sides. The front side – facing Mokhovaya Street- will show the time remaining before the Olympic Games, and the back side – turned towards the Red Square – will show the time left before the Paralympic Games. The clock was designed by the IOC world partner – the Swiss company Omega. The specialists of the legendary clock brand have been mounting the clock for about a week.
About 1,000 people, mainly young people, met on the Manezh Square. The flags of Russia, Moscow and sport organizations are flying over people.
“One year (before the Olympics) is a long period of time for a fan, but a very short period of time for the athletes, who should train,” Russian presidential plenipotentiary representative in the Central Federal District Alexander Beglov said at a ceremony to launch the clock. “I hope that our athletes will show the same good result as in Moscow,” he added, recalling that Soviet athletes won over 50 medals at the Moscow Olympics in 1980.
“We live according to the common Olympic time, we live with the single wish to win,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said. He noted that thousands of Moscow volunteers are ready to go to Sochi to give the aid during the Olympics.
Olympic champions Svetlana Zhurova, Svetlana Khorkina, Ivan Pukov and other athletes attended the ceremony.
The Moscow public utilities will provide for the regular cleanup of the adjoining territory, the Moscow regional security department will ensure the round-the-clock guarding of the clock, the prefecture of the Central Administrative District of Moscow said.
Similar “Olympic clocks” were also launched in several other Russian cities.