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|Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 23:28:29 UTC Post subject: Olympic torch relay passes successfully in St. Petersburg
|Olympic torch relay passes successfully in St. Petersburg
6 April 2008 15:07:39 | Source：Xinhua
ST. PETERSBURG, April 5 (Xinhua) -- The Olympic flame left its third stop after Saturday's successful torch relay here and is heading for the next stop London.
The Olympic torch relay in St. Petersburg started on Saturday morning from the Victory Square in the center of the city and covered 20 kilometers.
Each of the 80 torch bearers ran about 250 meters. The end of the race is the Palace Square where a grand ceremony was held to celebrate the success.
Galina Zybina, Russia's shot put gold medallist at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland, was the first person to bear the torch from the Victory Square at about 10:45 a.m. local time.
After 250 meters, she handed the flame over to Leonid Tyagachyov, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee, who ran another 250 meters.
At around 3 p.m., the last torchbearer in St. Petersburg Svetlana Zhurova, the vice speaker of Russian State Duma, also a gold medallist at 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, ran into the Palace Square on the south of the Winter Palace, where a huge crowd had already waited to received the Olympic flame.
A grand celebration was held around 2:30 p.m. at the square. After Zhurova lit the Community Cauldron, the audience brought outa burst of applause.
Tens of thousands of people went to track down the relay route. The whole city was dipped in an atmosphere of glamour and happiness.
"It's not such a thing you can encounter everyday, so I decided to come here to witness with my own eyes instead of lying on bed watching from TV," Stas Komichenko, 18, a junior student in the St. Petersburg State Transportation University, told Xinhua.
"China is a very good friend of Russia. I wish the Beijing Olympic Games a success," he said.
Three ceremonies were held for the torch relay: at the Victory Square for the beginning of the relay, at the Parliament Square for a break in the middle of the relay and at the Palace Square for the conclusion of the race.
People got up amazingly early to watch the event. Many streets near the relay route were blockaded and filled with banners, flags with the Olympic torch symbol and pedestrians.
"I haven't seen so many Russians on street since I came here a year ago," a Chinese on business here told Xinhua, "They organized this event very well."
A total of 80 Russian athletes, artists and media people, along with a diplomat from the Chinese embassy in Russia and a minority Chinese from China's Yunnan province, carried the Olympic torch through the city.
The stop in St. Petersburg is the third in the Olympic torch relay outside the Chinese mainland, and it has already been in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on April 2 and Turkey's Istanbul on April 3.
Shortly after 7 p.m., the charted plane with the flame left for London, the capital of Britain.