Olympics Torch images not all that they seem
A handout picture taken during the Sochi 2014 Winter relay on October 25, 2013 and released by the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Organizing Committee, shows torchbearers carrying an Olympic torch at the Elbrus Mount in Russia's North Caucasus region - by -
Organisers had planned for the torch to be lit on February 1 but conceded that weather conditions had forced them into a rethink and the historic moment was therefore captured for posterity in late October.
"The Sochi 2014 Organising Committee is pleased to announce that, as part of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay, the Olympic Flame has been lit at the peak of the highest point in Europe - Mt. Elbrus, which is located in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic," they said in a statement.
"The special "Elbrus" project was planned separately from the main Olympic Torch Relay route in order to ensure the best possible weather conditions for the climb.
"At the end of October 2013, an ascent of the western summit of the "two-peaked mountain" was made by experienced mountain climbers: Karina Mezova, who has climbed to the summit of Mount Elbrus 130 times, and Abdul-Khalim Elmezov, President of the Climbing Federation of the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria.
"On the western peak of Mt. Elbrus, at an altitude of 5,642 metres above sea level, Abdul-Khalim Elmezov and Karina Mezova lit the Cauldron."
Public television station Russia 24 broadcast images of the two climbers but it did not specify that the gruelling expedition took place in October.
A spokesperson for the organisers told AFP it simply wasn't possible to attempt such a climb in the height of winter.
"Today (Saturday), is the official stage of the torch relay to Mount Elbrus, as is down in the calendar," he said.
"But the mountaineers went there in October, when the weather conditions were more favourable."
Mount Elbrus is included in the Greater Caucasus mountain range and is the highest mountain not only of Russia, but of all of Europe.
The mountain is considered to be "two-peaked", since it has two summits - the western one is higher by just 21 metres than the eastern.
An ascent on Mount Elbrus is considered by professional mountain climbers to be one of the most challenging and dangerous of its kind.
The Sochi Games start next Friday, February 7 and run until February 23.