NHL star Ovechkin selected as the first torch bearer for Sochi Winter Games

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-9-27 13:41:21

Russian ice hockey player Alex Ovechkin has been chosen as the first torchbearer for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

American National Hockey League (NHL) team Washington Capitals announced on Thursday that Ovechkin, a three-time NHL Most Valuable Player and also skipper of the team, will leave the squad after Friday's pre-season home game against Philadelphia for the Olympic Torch igniting ceremony on Sunday at Olympia, Greece.

"I'm extremely humbled and honored to be the first Russian to carry the Olympic Torch. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and something I will never forget," said the 28-year-old right winger, who is engaged to tennis player compatriot Maria Kirilenko.

After the flame arrives in Russia from Greece in October, it will spiral out from the capital before heading east and looping around the Kamchatka Peninsula, down to Vladivostok and back across southern Siberia via Lake Baikal, the world's largest freshwater lake.

The torch will go to the International Space Station on Nov. 7 and go for a spacewalk two days later before being taken back to the Earth.

On its way through more than 2,900 towns in Russia's 83 regions, the torch will make its way back and eventually settle down to the Black Sea resort of Sochi for the opening ceremony on Feb. 7, 2014.

The Sochi Winter Olympic Games are slated for February 7 to 23 in 2014.

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