More DW Blogs DW.COM

Adventure Sports

with Stefan Nestler

Olympic flame on adventure trip

“Young” ice near North Pole

The Olympic flame has to freeze. Not yet in Greece, where it will be inflamed for the Winter Games of Sochi 2014 at the ancient sites of Olympia on 6th October, but very soon after arriving in Russia. Mid of October a nuclear icebreaker will bring the torch to the North Pole. This and other stations of the torch would “showcase the beauty of Russia to Russians and to the rest of the world”, said Dmitry Chernyshenko, president of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee. According to Russia’s reading the North Pole seems already to be incorporated – even if under international law it is still disputed whether or which of the Arctic nations has the right to exploit the huge oil and gas reserves that are presumed below the North Pole.

Armed policemen in high camp

It’s not new that the Olympic torch relay is misused for political purposes. Before the Games 2008 in Beijing China brought the Olympic flame to the top of Mount Everest – to demonstrate that the highest mountain of the world and thus occupied Tibet too belong to China. During the action Everest was closed for climbers from abroad. Independent eyewitnesses were unwanted. To avoid trouble with China, Nepal sent armed policemen to its side of the mountain to ensure that nobody would climb higher than Camp 2 on 6400 metres as long as the Chinese torchbearers were on the mountain.

Two Everest climbers as torchbearer

The upcoming torch relay for Sochi 2014 will also lead to a mountain which however is free of any political explosiveness. In early February the flame will burn on 5642-metre-high Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain of Europe. Torchbearers will be two climbers from the Russian republic of Kabardino-Balkaria: Abdul-Halim Olmezov and Karina Mezova. Both have reached the summit of Mount Everest: Olmezov in 2009 – and Mezova in 2011. The 30-year-old woman is a true eye-catcher on expedition images which are usually dominated by bearded men with greasy hair. And Karina has already lighted a flame on the Elbrus – for the Caucasus Games in 2012, as you can see here:


P.S. According to the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) arctic sea ice extent around the North Pole at the end of the summer melt season was 5.10 million square kilometers compared to the record low of 3,4 million in 2012. The new value was no “sign of turnaround”, said researchers of the German Alfred-Wegener-Institute, but confirmed “the long-term decline of arctic sea ice”.


19. September 2013 | 17:41


Related Content