ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece (AP) — Using the sun's rays at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics, organizers carried out a successful rehearsal Saturday to light the flame for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, before embarking on a massive relay that will carry the torch as far as outer space.
Under clear skies, actresses dressed as ancient priestesses took part in the rehearsal at Ancient Olympia in southern Greece — lighting the torch using a parabolic mirror. The flame will be kept in reserve for the actual ceremony to be held Sunday.
Thomas Bach, elected this month as the new president of the International Olympic Committee, will attend Sunday's ceremony.
The Russian leg of the torch relay is set to cover 40,390 miles before the Feb. 7-23 Winter Games.
"We can't wait to start tomorrow. It will be a very exciting moment for us," said Dmitry Chernyshenko, chief organizer of Sochi 2014.
"The Olympic flame is about to begin an epic journey ... traveling all nine time zones of Russia in 123 days. It will be carried by 14,000 proud torchbearers," he said.
"The Olympic torch will travel by reindeer, dog sled, snow mobiles, boats and even hot air balloon and many other vehicles, and of course by foot, by car and tens of thousands of kilometers by train, by plane."
The flame will be carried into space on Nov. 7, he said.
"It will go to the North Pole by nuclear power icebreaker and yes it will travel to space ... and the same torch will be used to light the flame during the opening ceremony."
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