It was a really long relay, as it lasted 31 days, including 14 days across the former Soviet Union. There have been some 142 welcoming ceremonies and people’s enthusiasm at the sight of the Olympic Flame was really big. The torch was designed by an engineers’ team, led by Boris Tutschin, at the Leningrad University.
It was a very well-organised relay, with Thanassis Kosmopoulos being the first torchbearer. In Bulgaria, Olympic gold medallist in the Greco Roman wrestling at the 1964 and 1968 Games, Boyan Radef, was the first torchbearer. In Romania, 1960 Olympic gold medallist Dumitru Pirvulescu was the first torch runner.
The first torchbearer in the Soviet Union leg was Olympic gold champion Pyotr Bolotnikov, while three times Olympic medallist in the triple jump Victor Sayenev carried the Flame into the Olympic stadium. Sayenev earned a silver medal, his fourth Olympic, at the Moscow Games. The flame’s first stop in Moscow was outside the building of the country’s chess federation. After being lit on the stadium’s altar, the Flame crossed the cities of Tallinn, Leningrad, Kiev and Minsk.