The shape of Russia’s torch is reminiscent of a feather, an allusion to fairy-tale charac-
ters such as the Firebird. The aluminum torch was designed to help the flame withstand the worst of Russia’s wind and weather. Each torch-
bearer has his own torch.
Weight: Almost
four pounds
37 inches

The first Russian to carry the
torch was Alexander Ovechkin,
Russia’s most famous athlete
and one of Washington’s,
as well.

The Olympic flame traveled from Greece to Russia by airplane and arrived in Moscow on Sunday. A torch was lit from the flame, and the first destination was Red Square, for a presidential greeting from Vladimir Putin. The flame will spend three days in Moscow, traveling 50 miles through the city.

One torch will go into space in early November, ferried to the International Space Station by rocket. Two cosmonauts will take it on a spacewalk, unlit. (Think safety, as well as fire’s need for oxygen.)

OCT. 14: Tula 
This city is known for its samovars, the lovely urns that boil water for tea, and the saying “You don’t take a samovar to Tula” (the equivalent of taking coals to Newcastle).

OCT. 24: Veliky Novgorod 
When the Mongols occupied much of Russia in the 13th and 14th centuries, Novgorod safeguarded Russian traditions, such as icon painting.

NOV. 6: Khanty-Mansiysk
This town of 80,000, in an oil region of Siberia, still holds to old traditions. Here, the flame will be conveyed by a team of reindeer.

NOV. 8: Mirny
The diamond mine here — 1,700 feet deep and 3,900 feet wide — is one of the deepest holes in the world.

Izhevsk, Jan. 2
The home of the Kalashnikov

Oct. 6


For the start of the Games on Feb. 7.

Total travel time:
123 days
40,000 miles
Towns and settlements:
within one hour
of route:
90 percent

JAN. 28: Grozny 
The center of Chechnya, a traditionally Muslim part of Russia now ruled by Ramzan Kadyrov.

JAN. 25: Elista 
The center of a Buddhist region of Russia and home to a chess city built by a former president of the region to glorify his favorite hobby.

JAN. 19: Volgograd 
Once named Stalingrad, and a turning point in World War II. An estimated 2 million people were killed here as Russians fought the Nazis.

DEC. 26: Ulyanovsk 
Lenin’s home town, on the beautiful Volga River. Looking in on the comfortable home where he grew up, visitors may wonder why he ever fomented revolution.

NOV. 28: Kyzyl 
A paucity of vowels, but a plethora of throat-singing — that’s Kyzyl, the capital of Tuva, located in the geographical center of Asia.

NOV. 22: Ulan Ude 
Near Lake Baikal, this city is known for the rather large head of Lenin in the town square — it’s 25 feet high, without a body, and it’s known as the biggest head in the world. “Let’s meet at the head,” people say.

SOURCE: Sochi 2014 Olympic Organizing Committee. Photos: Photo Illustration by Dimitri Messinis, EPA/Sergei Ilnitsky.