OREANDA-NEWS.  Today, Russia launches a nation-wide countdown to the first Winter Olympic Games in Russian history.

Clocks counting down the time to the start of the 2014 XXII Winter Olympic Games and the XI Winter Paralympic Games were launched in Moscow, St Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Yekaterinburg, Pyatigorsk and Khabarovsk.

In Sochi, celebrations marking one year until the Games were held at the Olympic Ice Palace. Vladimir Putin and IOC President Jacques Rogge jointly pressed the symbolic button launching the countdown until the start of the Games.