Moscow, Feb 7 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia Thursday kicked off celebrations marking one year until the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics by setting off special countdown clocks all over the country.
In Moscow, just off the capital's iconic Red Square, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin was joined by Olympic champions Svetlana Zhurova and Ivan Ukhov to set the clock running from 365 days.
Similar scenes could be witnessed in St Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Pyatigorsk and Khabarovsk.
Attention will turn to the Black Sea resort itself in the evening, when International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge is to issue official Games invitations to the national Olympic committees of Canada, Brazil, South Korea and Russia.
The Bolshoi Ice Dome will then host an ice show spectacular that will illustrate Sochi's transformation since the city was awarded the Games in 2007.
The show is to feature 300 artists including Olympic champion figure skaters Alexei Yagudin, Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov.
A fireworks demonstration rounds off the night.