Two Russian cosmonauts have begun a historic spacewalk with the unlit torch for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazansky will spend five hours in open space with the Olympic torch ahead of the event in the Russian city of Sochi.

‘Such momentous events are usually marked by some sort of grand pronouncement,’ Mr Kotov said from the space station yesterday.

‘But we are not going to be so original. Our speeches will be dedicated to the promotion of the Olympic movement, healthy lifestyles and the development of sport around the world.’

Millions of people around the world are expected to tune into live coverage of the momentous event via NASA TV.

‘Our goal here is to make it look spectacular,’ Mr Kotov added.

‘We’d like to showcase our Olympic torch in space. We will try to do it in a beautiful manner. Millions of people will see it live on TV and they will see the station and see how we work.’

The Olympic torch will not burn onboard the space station because lighting it would consume precious oxygen and pose a threat to the crew.

It will then return to Earth on Monday with three departing space station astronauts.

source: metro UK