The Olympic torch started a Covid-shortened trek past Beijing landmarks

The Olympic torch started a Covid shortened trek past Beijing landmarks

February 3, 2022: -On Wednesday, Beijing’s Covid-shortened Olympic torch relay started with basketball great Yao Ming and a Chinese soldier wounded in a bloody 2020 border clash with India from the first to carry the symbolic flame on a journey that will last only three days.

The route taking the flame to landmarks, which includes the Great Wall and Summer Palace, is more modest than the globe-spanning tour ahead of Beijing’s 2008 Summer Games disrupted by protests along the way.

Because of Covid-19, only selected public members will witness this week’s relay, as will be the case in the sporting events at the Olympics, which are taking place inside a “closed-loop” that seals off athletes and other Olympics personnel from the public.

“That is bad luck, but what can you do?” When Georgios Iliopoulos, Greece’s ambassador to China and a torch-bearer, was worried that the 2022 Games would be remembered as the “corona Olympics.”

“You cannot stop life, and we do the best we can to continue with what we have to deal with. The main thing is we keep together at this and leave it behind us as soon as possible,” he told reporters.

The flame, which was flown from Greece in October, will travel to competition zones, which include Zhangjiakou in neighboring Hebei province, before its journey with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron at Friday’s opening ceremony.

Wednesday’s event started under clear blue skies in Beijing when Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng lit a torch from a cauldron in the shape of a traditional ritual vessel known as a zun, then handed it to 80-year-old Luo Zhihua, who as a speed skater was China’s first winter sports world champion.

Qi Fabio, a regimental commander in the People’s Liberation Army, was among the torch-bearers. He took the torch from four-time short-track speed skating gold medalist Wang Meng. During a 2020 border clash with Indian troops in the Galway Valley, the latter was seriously wounded that killed four Chinese soldiers. More than 1,000 torch-bearers will participate in the relay.

Asked in the sub-freezing morning how he felt as an Olympics torch-bearer, Yao responded: “Pretty cold, because the last two times were for the Summer Olympics. But it’s warm to hold a flame in the winter.”

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The Olympic torch started a Covid-shortened trek past Beijing landmarks
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The Olympic torch started a Covid-shortened trek past Beijing landmarks
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Olympic torch relay started with basketball great Yao Ming and a Chinese soldier wounded in a bloody 2020 border clash with India
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The Women Leaders
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