Sochi Olympic Cauldron Lit by Sports Legends

SOCHI, February 7 (RIA Novosti) – The Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Games was lit Friday by three-time Olympic figure skating champion Irina Rodnina and Vladislav Tretiak, the legendary Soviet goaltender named the greatest Russian hockey player of the 20th century.

The pair were handed the flame by a bevy of other Russian sports stars, including tennis ace Maria Sharapova, Olympic medal-winning wrestler Aleksandr Karelin, pole vault star Yelena Isinbayeva and Alina Kabaeva, a gold medalist gymnast at the Athens Games of 2004.

Ten-time world champion Rodnina, 64, won three consecutive Olympic gold medals from 1972 in Sapporo to 1980 in Lake Placid in the pairs competition, first with partner Alexei Ulanov and then for the second two with Alexander Zaitsev.

Tretiak, 61, won golds with the formidable Soviet hockey team in 1972, 1976 and 1984, along with a silver in Lake Placid. He currently heads up the Russian Hockey Federation.

Rodnina, Tretiak, Kabayeva and Karelin are all deputies in the State Duma, the country’s lower house of parliament, with the ruling United Russia party.

Corrects previous version to specify Karelin carried torch.

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