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First Female Astronaut on List of Sochi Torchbearers

Valentina Tereshkova skiing in 1964 V. Malyshev

The world's first female astronaut Valentina Tereshkova has been named on a preliminary list of 6,000 individuals chosen to take part in the record breaking torch relay in the build-up to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, a news report said Monday.

The 2014 Olympic torch relay will be the longest in the history of the Winter Olympic Games. Starting in October, the torch will travel 65,000 kilometers over the course of 123 days, passing through 2,900 towns, the games' official website said.

Soviet cosmonaut Tereshkova was launched aboard the Vostok 6 fifty years ago to become the first woman in space. She orbited the earth 48 times, and in the course of that historic 70.8-hour flight.

Her name was added to the list that also includes teachers, students, athletes, doctors, and public figures. The final list will be released by the end of September 2013. There will be 14,000 torchbearers in total, the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee said in a statement carried by Interfax.

A 93-year-old from the Volgograd region is the oldest person to have been chosen, while the youngest is a 14-year-old from Kalmykia.

The four-time Olympic champion for gymnastics Alexei Nemov, three-time winner for synchronized swimming Maria Kiseleva, and Paralympic bronze medalist from the 2012 summer games Alexei Chuvashev, have also been chosen.

Also, 136 representatives from foreign countries, including U.S, Brazil, Japan, Spain and Britain — among others — will take part.

"Everyone will get the chance to become a torchbearer. We are trying to make the representative of candidates as wide as possible. Almost all of the torchbearers for Sochi 2014 are known, and soon we will tell you about them," the Organizing Committee's president Dmitry Chernyshenko said.

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