ANCIENT OLYMPIA — Using the sun's rays, the Olympic flame lighting for the Winter Games in Sochi went off without a hitch in southern Greece Sunday, ahead of its journey across Russia's nine time zones and even a trip to space before the Feb. 7-23 games.
The ceremony was held with actresses dressed as ancient priestesses at the birthplace of the Greek games held in antiquity, with the flame lighting using a parabolic mirror.
Newly elected International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach was present at the 20-minute ancient re-enactment.
"The Olympic Games ... should inspire the people of the world and especially the political authorities by showing them that quarrels and conflicts can be addressed with peaceful means," Bach said before the ceremony. "I think it will have a very positive effect on Russia. It will show a new Russia to the world and also open up civil society."
Some 2,800 athletes from more than 80 countries are due to compete at Sochi.