Ovechkin returns safely from weekend in Greece

Ovechkin returns safely from weekend in Greece
September 29, 2013, 9:00 pm
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Alex Ovechkin carries the Olympic torch in Greece

(AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis/pool)

Calling it the “best moment of my life,” Alex Ovechkin on Sunday became the first Russian athlete to carry the Olympic torch in its long journey from Olympia, Greece to Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Games.

"So sick!!!!!!!best moment in my life!!!," Ovechkin said on his Twitter feed, @Ovi8, adding a photo of him carrying the torch.

Ovechkin arrived back in Washington at about 8 p.m. on Sunday night, more than an hour before originally scheduled. He is expected to practice with the Caps on Monday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

After Greek Alpine skier Ioannis Antoniou, 18, ignited the Olympic torch, he handed it to Ovechkin, who smiled, waved to the crowd and began running through what remains of the 2,600-year-old Temple of Hera.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and something I will never forget," Ovechkin told a correspondent from AFP news agency.

Ovechkin, 28, arrived in Greece on Saturday evening, participated in the torch lighting ceremony on Sunday, and returned Dulles Airport Sunday night. He spent about 18 hours of his 38-hour weekend journey in the air.

Ovechkin is expected to practice with the Caps on Monday at Kettler, then join the team on its flight to Chicago for Tuesday night’s season opener against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks.

While Ovechkin is playing for the Capitals, the Olympic torch will make its way through Greece, ending its journey Oct. 5 at the old Olympic Stadium in Athens. After that, the Olympic torch will spend the next four months traveling through 2,900 towns in Russia.

There has been some speculation recently that Ovechkin’s mother and two-time Olympian, Tatyana, will carry the torch during its journey.

The torch is also scheduled to travel to the International Space Station, where it will be passed between Russian cosmonauts.