Two of Russia’s finest Olympians got the honor of lighting the cauldron in the climax of the Opening Ceremony for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
After tennis superstar and NBC Olympics correspondent Maria Sharapova brought the Olympic flame into Fisht Olympic Stadium, the torch was then passed between pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, wrestler Aleksandr Karelin, and gymnast Alina Kabaeva before finally coming to three-time Olympic gold medalists Irina Rodnina (pairs figure skating) and Vladislav Tretyak (hockey).
Rodnina and Tretyak then jogged outside the stadium to the cauldron’s structure. Upon arriving, they lit a smaller cauldron and the flame shot up the structure before igniting the main cauldron at the top.
U.S. runner Allyson Felix says she expects to be close to 100 percent when 400m qualifying begins on Aug. 13.
Felix, who hurt her right ankle during training this spring, was at less than 100 percent earlier this month when she ran in the U.S. Olympic Trials.
She failed to qualify for her favorite race, the 200m, and will not have a chance to defend her Olympic title at that distance.
At the U.S. training camp on Friday, Felix said she doesn’t think she’ll ever get past the disappointment of not getting to go for the 200m-400m double, but she’s focused on the task at hand. The 400m final is Aug. 15.