Hollywood action star Jackie Chan stirred up a commotion in
Salonika on Friday as he ran a leg of the Olympic torch relay.
Chan, who has won worldwide acclaim thanks to his acrobatic film
roles, was forced to stop his run after no more than 100 meters
amid fears of injury caused by the crazy crowds. He has been
supposed to carry the flame for 400 meters.
Thousands of local citizens, including several hundreds of
overseas Chinese, lined the streets in the country's second largest
city and chanted cheers as Chan passed by. Many followed Chan along
the relay route and even attempted to break in the procession.
"It is a special honor and I feel proud to have run in Greece.
It's a once-in-life experience to me," Chan said after the torch
"It (Torch relay) is not only about sport, but also conveys
themessages of 'peace', 'love' and 'unity'," he added.
A total of 150 torchbearers were involved in Friday's relay from
Polygiros to Salonika.
Members of the Greek national men's basketball team, who will
soon be playing at the Olympics, ran together at the last leg. They
also lit an altar at the White Tower together.
Team captain FranGiskos Albertis said: "We are honored to be
taking part in the Olympic torch relay. It is an act that will help
carry the message of the Olympic Games throughout the world. It is
a special moment in all our lives."
Besides Chan, two others picked as representatives of China to
carry the flame 400 meters each in Salonika on Saturday are Sun
Wen, former captain of the women's soccer team, and actor Pu
The flame continues its journey Saturday from Salonika to the
ancient city of Dion, passing on the way through Pella,
Giannitsa,Alexandria and Litohoro, covering a total of 177km with a
participation of more than 250 torchbearers.
(Xinhua News Agency July 26, 2004)