The Olympic torch relay began its second day on Thursday (February 3) atop the Great Wall, with Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan and Chinese Olympic medallists among those taking turns carrying the flame along a route shortened to three days because of COVID-19.
The relay for the torch that will open the Feb. 4-20 Winter Games is much more modest than the globe-spanning relay for Beijing’s 2008 Summer Games, a tour that was disrupted by protests.
Table tennis Olympic gold medallist Ma Long and Wu Jingyu, a two-time gold medallist in taekwondo, were among those carrying the red-and-silver spiral torch along the Badaling section of the Great Wall, where the Thursday morning temperature was a bracing -11 Celsius (12 Fahrenheit).
Chan, 67, a Hong Kong action and comedy film star known for his support of the Beijing government, was identified in the official press release by his Chinese name Chen Gangsheng.
“This is my fourth Olympics. I’m very happy and I’m also very cold!” Chan told reporters after his run along the wall.
Badaling, the section of the wall most often visited by tourists, is 70 km (45 miles) northwest of central Beijing in the Yanqing district, near the Olympics sliding and Alpine skiing venues. It was built around 1500 A.D. during the Ming dynasty.
The relay then moved to the International Grape Exhibition Garden, where women’s balance beam gold medallist Guan Chenchen said she hoped to motivate people to participate in winter sports.