The Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay will traverse the longest distance, cover the greatest area and include the largest number of people, according to plans released tonight during a grand ceremony held in the China Millennium Monument in Beijing by BOCOG, the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of XXIX Olympiad.
The planned route, revealed by Luo Gan, member of the standing committee of the Political Bureau of CPC Central Committee, and who was joined by International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, would last 130 days and travel 137,000 kilometers. And the Beijing 2008 Olympic torch design was unveiled by State Councilor and BOCOG first vice-president Chen Zhili, with IOC Coordination Commission Chairman Hein Verbruggen alongside.
"As the prelude to the Beijing Olympic Games, the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay is one of the most important ceremonies and a major means to spread and promote the Olympic spirit," said BOCOG President Liu Qi. "As one of the grand ceremonies for the Beijing Olympic Games, the Torch Relay of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games has set its theme as the 'Journey of Harmony' and the slogan 'Light the Passion, Share the Dream'."
Liu said,the torch will be passed in all the five continents around the world and throughout China. It is our hope that the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay will once again spread the Olympic spirit all over the world and demonstrate Chinese people's passion for the Olympic Movement. The relay will showcase the people, beautiful sceneries, cultural heritage in countries, regions and cities along the relay route. It will enhance mutual understanding and friendship among people of different countries. Moreover, it will further expound the rich implication of our theme slogan "One World One Dream".
We are sending invitations to people all over the world to share the joy and glory brought by the Beijing Olympic Games, Liu added.
"By traveling along the historic 'Silk Road', a symbol of ancient trade links between China and the rest of the world, crossing the five continents and going to new places, the Beijing 2008 Torch Relay will, as its theme says, be a 'Journey of Harmony', bringing friendship and respect to people of different nationalities, races and creeds," commented IOC President Rogge. "I have no doubt the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay will leave many extraordinary memories and create new dreams for people around the world."
Liu Peng, minister of the State General Administration of Sport and executive president of BOCOG also attended the ceremony. And the ceremony was presided over by Wang Qishan, mayor of Beijing and executive president of BOCOG.
The Planned Route
Validated by IOC, the Olympic Flame will be lit in Olympia, Greece according to tradition on March 25, 2008. From March 25 - 30, the Torch Relay will travel across Greece, ending at the Panathinaiko Stadium, the site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. After the handover ceremony in the stadium, the Olympic Flame will arrive in Beijing on March 31, 2008. In Beijing, a ceremony will be held for the arrival of the flame into China and Beijing 2008 Olympic torch relay will commence.
The cities along the route are:
Beijing; Almaty; Istanbul; St.Petersburg; London; Paris; San Francisco; Buenos Aires; Dar Es Salaam; Muscat; Islamabad; Mumbai; Bangkok; Kuala Lumpur; Jakarta; Canberra; Nagano; Seoul; Pyongyang; Ho Chi Minh City; Taipei; Hong Kong; Macao; Hainan Province (Sanya, Wuzhishan, Wanning, Haikou); Guangdong Province (Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Huizhou, Shantou); Fujian Province (Fuzhou, Quanzhou, Xiamen, Longyan); Jiangxi Province (Ruijin, Jinggangshan, Nanchang); Zhejiang Province (Wenzhou, Ningbo, Hangzhou, Shaoxing, Jiaxing); Shanghai; Jiangsu Province (Suzhou, Nantong, Taizhou, Yangzhou, Nanjing); An'hui Province (Hefei, Huainan, Wuhu, Jixi, Huangshan); Hubei Province (Wuhan, Yichang, Jingzhou); Hunan Province (Yueyang, Changsha, Shaoshan); Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (Guilin, Nanning, Baise); Yunnan Province (Kunming, Lijiang, Xamgyi' nyilha); Guizhou Province (Guiyang, Kaili, Zunyi); Chongqing; Sichuang Province (Guang'an, Mianyang, Guanghan, Leshan, Zigong, Yibin, Chengdu); Tibet Autonomous Region (Shannan Diqu, Lhasa); Qinghai Province (Golmud, Qinghai Hu, Xining); Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (Urumqi, Kashi, Shihezi, Changji); Gansu Province (Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, Jiuquan, Tianshui, Lanzhou); Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (Zhongwei, Wuzhong, Yinchuan); Shaanxi Province (Yan'an, Yangling, Xianyang, Xi'an); Shanxi Province (Yuncheng, Pingyao, Taiyuan, Datong); Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (Hohhot, Ordos, Baotou, Chifeng); Heilongjiang Province (Qiqihar, Daqing, Harbin); Jilin Province (Songyuan, Changchun, Jilin, Yanji); Liaoning Province (Shenyang, Benxi, Liaoyang, Anshan, Dalian); Shandong Province (Yantai, Weihai, Qingdao, Rizhao, Linyi, Qufu, Tai'an, Jinan); Henan Province (Shangqiu, Kaifeng, Zhengzhou, Luoyang, Anyang); Hebei Province (Shijiazhuang, Qinhuangdao, Tangshan); Tianjin; and Beijing.
One of the highlights of this leg will be the attempt to bring the Olympic Flame to the highest peak in the world Mt. Qomolangma. During the arrival ceremony for the flame into China on March 31, 2008, one of the lanterns with the Olympic Flame will be kept aside. The torchbearer team will then attempt to take the Flame to the highest peak on a day in May that presents the best climatic conditions for the ascent.