Flame handed to Russian organizers
ATHENS, Greece (AP)
The Olympic flame has been handed to organizers of the Sochi Winter Olympics in a ceremony at the site of the first modern summer games.
The same actress, dressed as a high priestess, who lit the flame in Ancient Olympia last Sunday, lit a torch from a cauldron placed inside Athens' Panathinaiko Stadium. The flame, placed in a lantern, was handed over to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak.
After a seven-day run through Greece, the flame will cover 40,000 miles on Russian soil. The record-setting relay will start on Monday in Moscow and finish in Sochi on Feb. 7, the opening day of the games.
A few dozen activists peacefully protested against Russia's law banning gay propaganda as the Olympic flame made its way through central Athens on Saturday.
The activists sat on the steps of the Acropolis Museum, with some holding rainbow flags, while others held a banner reading "Homophobia is not in the Olympic Spirit" and "Love is not Propaganda."
Police presence was light and there were no incidents.
The 22nd Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place Feb. 7-23 in Sochi. Some 2,800 athletes from more than 80 countries are due to compete.