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5 July 2004, 09:32 am
Moscow Welcomes The Torch
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Athens 2004
Moscow

Moscow, the host city of the 1980 Olympics was the thirtieth stop of the International Torch Relay on July 3, 2004.
Russia, a country with a long tradition in sports saw the Flame of the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games, the symbol of peace, truce and noble strife illuminate the greatest monuments of the Russian metropolis, with thousands of people swarming the areas through which it passed, and greeting the Torchbearers enthusiastically.

Arriving at the Russian capital early yesterday morning, for the first time after 24 years, the Olympic flame was given a Head-of-State reception. The 38 km course through the streets of Moscow was run by 121 Torchbearers. The Flame also stopped briefly at the University of Moscow and the Luzhniky Stadium, where cultural events were held, including a gymnastics and dance show with the ever-lasting relation between Man and Nature as the main theme.

Leonid TYAGACHEV, President of the Russian Olympic Committee was the first Torchbearer. The Olympic flame began its course in the city at the Monument of the Great Patriotic War, passing through the internationally famous monuments, the Red Square, the Kremlin, the Bolshoi Theatre, the Cathedral of the Saviour, the Luzhniky Stadium, the University of Moscow, the Olympic Stadium that hosted the 1980 Olympics, and arrived late in the afternoon at the Vasilievsky Spusk, by the Red Square.

Among the 121 Torchbearers were Tamara BYCOVA, a legendary High Jump athlete, Sergey PANOV, CSKA club basketball player, Denis PANKRATOV, Olympic Swimming medallist in 1996, Elena DEMENTIEVA, the rising star of the Russian tennis, Petr BOLOTNIKOV, Olympic Champion in the 1960 Games, and Alexander LEBZYAJK, Olympic Boxing medallist in 2000. Moscow Vice-Mayor, Valery SHANTSEV lit the cauldron, in the presence of at least fifty thousand Muscovites. The lighting of the Flame was followed by a cultural programme featuring the History of the Olympic Games, to great applause by the crowd gathered.

ATHENS 2004 representative, Spiros LAMBRIDIS commented on the warm response of the Moscow residents to the arrival of the Flame. "Russia has a long tradition in sports and made history in the Olympic Games. Today we realised that the Muscovites embrace the message that the ATHENS 2004 International Torch Relay sends out to the world, the first Torch Relay to visit all five continents. We wish the Russian Olympic team every success in the Athens Olympic Games".

After the end of the Torch Relay, Leonid TYAGACHEV, the President of the Russian Olympic Committee said. "Today Moscow and Russia showed their appreciation to the Olympic Ideals. I feel exactly as I did when I won my first medal. Athens deserved to organise the Games and I am confident that you have made every possible effort to host unique Games. The Greeks will succeed because they deserve to".

"ZEUS", the Olympic Airways plane carrying the Flame, will leave Moscow at dawn on Monday for Kiev, capital of the Ukraine.
Athens 2004
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