Olympic flame arrives in St Petersburg

The Olympic flame has arrived in Russia’s northern capital, St. Petersburg. It was delivered on a special flight from Istanbul which landed at 3am local time.

Officials and journalists turned out to welcome the Olympic symbol despite the early hour.
 
A torch relay will start on Saturday morning with eighty runners taking part. They will cover a distance of over twenty kilometres with parts of the city blocked off to traffic.

Shot putter and javelin thrower Galina Zybina, who triumphed in the Olympics of 1952, has been given the honour of carrying the flame first.

Among other torch carriers is the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, the former Economics Minister, German Gref, and the China's ambassador to Russia, Liu Guchang.

After St Petersburg, the Olympic flame will travel to London as it continues its journey around the globe in the build-up to the Beijing Games in August.