Olympic flame visits North Pole, prepares for open space
The Olympic flame that continues its glorious journey across the world's largest country, has visited the North Pole for the first time in history and helped the participants of the relay set several records. On top of the planet, the flame arrived on board the nuclear icebreaker "50 Years of Victory" that set two historic records at once. Afterwards, at the northernmost point of the planet, a ceremony was conducted to light the Olympic bowl. Representatives of eight countries of the Arctic Council took part in the event - Russia, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Canada, USA, Iceland and Denmark.
During the Arctic stage of the relay, the Olympic flame has never gone out. Russian-made torches have extinguished themselves at least 24 times during the all-Russian relay, although the authorities that spent an indecently huge amount on the organization of the Olympic Games promised that Olympic torches would not go out, under no circumstances.
Icebreaker 50 Years of Victory, with the Olympic flame on board, set two records. For first time in history, the icebreaker reached the North Pole under the conditions of the polar night. The mission was accomplished in record-short time - 91 hours 12 minutes. The icebreaker departed from Murmansk on October 15 and reached the top of the planet in less than four days, covering the distance of 1,395 nautical miles (2,500 kilometers) across the Arctic Ocean with an average speed of 15.3 miles per hour.
This journey to the North Pole became the latest one in history: previously, ships would travel there only in summer months. "This journey is a unique one indeed. The Olympic flame was brought to the North Pole, and it was the first time, when a surface ship reached the Pole in autumn," expedition leader Artur Chilingarov proudly announced to journalists. The vessel traveled a half of its way breaking through the ice of the Arctic Ocean.
During the voyage, the fire was kept in a special oil lamp in one of the cabins of the icebreaker, the press service of the Sochi-2014 Organizing Committee said. The arrival at the North Pole was immediately celebrated with a bottle of champagne on the captain's bridge.
The preparation of the relay and setting all equipment took six hours, and the relay began. The lamp with the Olympic flame was removed from the captain's bridge, and a torch of the first Arctic torchbearer was lit.
On the surface of ice, the route was set only on one side of the icebreaker that covered everyone from the wind. The torchbearers ran around the North Pole sign. Chilingarov completed the relay and eventually lit the Olympic flame in the bowl mounted on the pole. The ceremony completed with a giant projection on the ice.
The further trip of the Olympic fire of the Sochi Games will take place in the hands of torchbearers on planes, trains, snowmobiles, reindeer, dog sledding and the Russian troika. After the visit to the North Pole, the fire will be taken to the bottom of Lake Baikal, lifted to the top of Mount Elbrus and sent into space on board the International Space Station. The relay began on October 7 and will finish on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, when the Winter Olympics 2014 open.
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