BEIJING, China (Reuters) – On Thursday (Feb 3) atop the Great Wall, the Olympic torch relay entered its second day, with Hong Kong star Jackie Chan and Chinese Olympic medalists among those taking turns carrying the light over a course truncated to three days due to COVID-19.
The torch relay for the Winter Games, which will take place from February 4 to 20, is far smaller than the globe-spanning relay for Beijing’s 2008 Summer Games, which was halted by protesters.
Ma Long, an Olympic table tennis gold medalist, and Wu Jingyu, a two-time taekwondo gold medalist, were among those who carried the red-and-silver spiral torch along the Badaling section of the Great Wall, where the temperature was a chilly -11 degrees Celsius on Thursday morning.
Chan, 67, a Hong Kong action and comedy film actor known for his backing of the Beijing leadership, was given the Chinese name Chen Gangsheng in the official news statement.
“I awoke at 4 a.m. I’m competing in my fourth Olympic Games. I’m overjoyed. I’m also shivering! “After his sprint along the wall, Chan informed reporters.
Badaling, the most popular tourist portion of the wall, is located 70 kilometres northwest of Beijing in the Yanqing district, near the Olympic sliding and Alpine skiing sites.
It was constructed during the Ming period approximately 1500 AD.
The torch will be carried to Zhangjiakou in Hebei province, where the majority of the Olympic snow events will be held, later on Thursday. At Friday’s opening ceremony, the Olympic cauldron will be lit, bringing the relay to a close.
Because of COVID-19, the Games will be held in a “closed loop,” with participants and other Olympic personnel kept away from the general public, and only a limited, chosen audience will be present.