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Sinopec ignites Olympic flame tour

By Sun Xiaochen | | Updated: 2021-12-07 21:51
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The Olympic flame for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games on display in Beijing's Olympic Tower on Oct 20, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics organizing committee launched an Olympic flame exhibition tour on Tuesday at the headquarters of China Petrochemical Corp, also known as Sinopec, to fuel public anticipation for next year's Games.

Witnessed by Sinopec staff, media and special guests as well as students from China's rural areas via livestreaming, the Olympic flame for the Beijing 2022 Winter Games - contained in a red lantern - drew immediate attention at the Tuesday morning event when escorted by volunteers into the ceremony held at the office building of Sinopec, the official oil and gas partner of Beijing 2022.

As the first of such activities visiting a designated site of the Games' official sponsors, the Tuesday demonstration was part of a touring public exhibition project which will put the Olympic flame, lantern, Beijing 2022 torch and torchbearer uniforms on display across the country through both online and offline events.

Allowing the Chinese public to feel the warmth of the Olympic flame, which was lit at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics in Greece in October, helps promote the Olympic spirit and culture across the country, organizers and sponsors said.

"As a close partner of Beijing 2022, Sinopec has been actively reacting to the central government's call to involve 300 million people in ice and snow sports activities, spread winter sports culture and education," Ma Yongsheng, president of Sinopec, said during his speech at the event.

"Sinopec will endeavor to live up to its responsibilities to help guarantee the delivery of a successful Winter Olympics in a streamlined and safe manner by providing support in venue construction, clean energy, logistics and voluntary service," he added.

Piao Xuedong, director of the Beijing 2022 organizing committee's marketing department, expects to see stronger public enthusiasm toward the Games triggered by the exhibition tour.

"As a striking visual element of the Beijing 2022 torch and its relay project, the dancing red ribbon demonstrates the passion and dream of the Olympic movement, while representing China's traditional festival culture," he said.

"Hopefully the display of Olympic flame through the touring event and online exhibition could encourage the public to anticipate the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and stay together for a shared future."

Lit in Olympia, Greece on Oct 18, the Beijing 2022 flame had been displayed at the Olympic Tower since returning to Beijing for over a month and will take a tour to the chilly northeastern provinces of the country, places with a tradition of winter sports, after the sponsor exhibition events.

As part of an online exhibit, students from eight rural schools donated by Sinopec in China's poverty-stricken southern and western areas also observed the ceremony and took part in the Tuesday event via live teleconference calls.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Beijing 2022 organizers have adjusted the traditional grand torch relay to a smaller-scale event, with the relay only taking place in three host areas - Beijing's downtown, its northwest Yanqing district and co-host Zhangjiakou, Hebei province - involving about 1,200 torchbearers.

The relay is scheduled for Feb 2 to 4, with the route connecting landmarks, historical sites and major tourism attractions in Beijing and Zhangjiakou. An online version of the torch relay using virtual reality and augmented reality technologies is also planned for social media platforms, with details yet to be announced.

Drawing inspiration from the main cauldron for the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, the torch for the Beijing 2022 Games is dubbed the "flying ribbon". It spirals upward to create two overlapping, fluttering ribbons with the red, inner one evoking rising flames to contrast with the silver-plated outer layer.

The torch's outer shell is made of carbon fiber materials developed by Sinopec and is light in weight and resistant to high temperatures.

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