Author`s name Pravda.Ru

Moscow welcomes Olympic flame

The 2004 Olympics torch has arrived in Moscow. The Russian leg of the international Olympic Torch Relay is to be opened by National Olympic Committee President Leonid Tyagachev and closed by Moscow Vice Mayor Valery Shantsev and Federal Sports & Tourism Agency Chairman Vyacheslav Fetisov.

About 120 torchbearers will take part in the Russian leg of the Olympic Torch Relay 2004, including athletes, people in the arts, and members of the general public who have been selected on a competitive basis.

The torch will be carried through Moscow along a 38-kilometer route. The relay starts at 2 p.m. on Poklonnaya Gora (Hill), a WWII memorial site in the city's western part, and finishes at 8 p.m. outside the Kremlin.

Six fields for mini soccer and another eight for streetball have been set up at Moscow's Luzhniki stadium, lying on the Olympic torch's route. Tournaments for 120 amateur teams are expected to take place here today.

The events to welcome the Olympic flame will culminate in an outdoor gala concert on Vasilyevsky Spusk (slope), near the Kremlin.

The Olympic flame travels the world on a Zeus airliner, and is escorted by a hundred-strong entourage, including Olympics athletes and organizers.

The Olympic Torch Relay 2004 was launched on May 25, after the flame had been lit in a recreation of the ancient Olympic ceremony in the Greek city of Olympia, the site of the first Olympic Games in 776 BC.

The torch has already been carried through Los Angeles, Mexico, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, New Delhi, and Rome. From Moscow, it heads on for the Ukrainian capital of Kiev.