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Olympic torch relay, from Athens to Mt. Everest
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China.org.cn:Did you take weather conditions into account when you worked on other sections of the relay route? For example, what places to include and when to pass each place? Are there contingency plans for abnormal weather?

Li Ping: First of all, we will keep an eye on the weather forecast and take preventive measures to cope with emergencies. But as we all know, the relay lasts more than four months. It's impossible to completely avoid rainy or windy days. The design of the torch will keep the flame burning in weather conditions of 50 mm of precipitation per hour or 65 kilometers of wind speed per hour. However, if orange or red storm alerts are released, the relay will probably be canceled. We will choose some other way to display the torch in this eventuality. For example, we will exhibit the torch and introduce the torchbearers in the local exhibition hall, and invite local media to cover the whole process. I hope there won't be many such special conditions and I believe the weather will be on our side.

China.org.cn: On March 24, the Flame will be lit in Greece. Do you know the weather forecast for that day? What sort of emergency would we have if the weather was not suitable for lighting the flame?

Li Ping: The Olympic Flame was originally lit by the Sun God Apollo. So, the sun is the most important factor for the event, because the flame is lit using a concave mirror to focus the rays of the sun. We will continue with the traditional method of kindling the flame, as it symbolizes the purity of the Olympic Flame. Before the lighting ceremony, the priestesses will have a complete rehearsal and also prepare a back-up fire in case of cloudy weather on March 24.

China.org.cn: When all is said and done, only a minority can be torchbearers, the rest can share the delight closely by other means.

Li Ping: Those who aren't lucky enough to become torchbearers can also take part, for example by watching the torch relay. In this way, they can feel the Olympic spirit; can witness the beauty of the Olympic Flame. Each city will publish information about the torch relay in advance. The public can find information about the relay route and torchbearers. I think that the public should pay particular attention to their favorite torchbearer and his or her route.

After finding out the information, it's important to make arrangements in advance because during the torch relay special traffic control measures will probably be taken to guarantee the safety of the event.

I suggest that the public pay attention to security and be a responsible participant in the event. Especially when a star torchbearer appears, the public might rush to take photos with him or her; or the torch. The roads will probably become extremely crowded. Please listen to the orders of the event organizers to prevent injury.

I think that waving, applauding and cheering are all very good ways to show emotions, and also very civilized ways. The public should practice the ideas of Olympic Civilization when experiencing the charm of the Olympic Flame and feeling the Olympic spirit.

The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games is a great event not only for the Chinese people, but also for the whole world. The Chinese nation has waited for more than 100 years for this great moment. Let's participate in the torch relay with enthusiasm and follow the Olympic Flame. Let's pray for the Olympic Flame and wish everything goes well with it until the day when it lights the Olympic cauldron.

(China.org.cn by Wang Zhiyong, Yang Xi, Huang Shan and Li Xiaohua March 18, 2008)

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