08-08-2008 13:42Special Report: 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
The slogan of the torch relay is "Light the Passion, Share the Dream." The relay for the Beijing Games is the longest and most ambitious ever planned. The torch has traveled 137,000 kilometers across five continents in 130 days.
The slogan of the torch relay is "Light the Passion,
At the Ancient Olympia archaeological site, a High Priestess ignited the torch...marking the start of the global torch relay of the Beijing Olympics
Over 20-thousand torchbearers have carried the flame on its 137,000 kilometers around the world.
The torch has passed along the ancient "Silk Road", a bridge between East and West, sharing the Chinese people's joy on its way through Almaty, Istanbul, Islamabad, New Delhi and Bangkok.
It has linked Olympic footprints with relays in Russia, Britain, France and Australia.
The flame has spread the Olympic spirit to continents which have yet to host the Games, lighting up Buenos Aires in South America and Dar es Salaam in Africa.
However, discordant notes were heard with repeated assaults on torchbearers by Tibetan separatists and members of other anti-China groups.
The sacred flame of the Olympics represents the spirit of the Games. And any actions that violate this spirit are unacceptable.
Support for the relay from Chinese communities overseas has been enormous.
The relay always drew huge crowds of patriotic students and overseas Chinese.
With concerted efforts from the government, people, and the Chinese communities in the relay hosting countries...the Beijing Olympic flame's journey of harmony has shown Chinese aspirations for world peace and a better world.
On May 1st, the torch returned to Chinese territory. It received a warm welcome both in Hong Kong and Macao, as residents crowded to get a glimpse of the sacred flame, hoping to share the Olympic spirit.
And on May 4th, the torch started its Mainland journey in Sanya, in Hainan province.
The route covered 113 cities and areas in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities.
Everywhere, the torch's arrival generated incredible enthusiasm from Chinese people, especially at the top of Mount Qomolangma.
To fulfill a promise of the bidding campaign Beijing organizers put together a top team for the unprecedented relay.
On May 8th, 9:18 A-M Beijing time, After years of preparations, the team carried the flame to the world's highest summit. China calls the feat a gift to the Olympics and people worldwide.
The torch also brought a message of hope to southwest China, where the May 12th earthquake killed nearly 70-thousand people.
Many subsequent legs have held a minute of silence to remember the victims and donations were encouraged along the route.
And many heroes in the rescue and relief operations were added to the ranks of torchbearers.
The schedule was adjusted to make Sichuan the last stop before Beijing.
And on August third, nearly three months after the quake, the Olympic torch started its "journey of solace and hope" in Sichuan.
Deafening roars of "Rebuild Sichuan! Go China!" came from the crowds.
And the flame came to Beijing, where Olympic fever can be felt everywhere.
The running started on Wednesday at the Meridian Gate of the Forbidden City. The route included nearly all the historical sites of the Chinese capital, among them the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven and the Temple of Earth. There were also landmarks showcasing Beijing's modernity, such as the futuristic National Center for the Performing Arts.
The route of its journey in its final leg traces the Chinese character He, which means peace.
Friday evening, the torch will arrive at its final destination, the National Stadium, nicknamed the Bird's Nest. As it concludes its journey, the Passion and the Dream of the Beijing Games will begin.