Home / Sports / News Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Luo to be first Chinese torchbearer for Beijing Olympics
Adjust font size:

Olympic swimming champion Luo Xuejuan will become the first Chinese person to carry the Olympic torch for the Beijing Games when it's handed to her by a Greek athlete during the flame-lighting ceremony in Greece on March 24.

Luo Xuejuan

Luo, a 25-year-old Zhejiang native, won China's only swimming gold medal during the Athens Olympics in 2004 when she won the 100-meters breast stroke. She is also the Asian record holder in the event.

Luo announced her retirement last year after heart surgery. Doctors warned that her heart could no longer endure the stress required by a world-class athlete.

Luo will take the torch in front of the Coubertin Monument in Ancient Olympia during the relay.

The first torchbearer will be Alexandros Nikolaidis, a Greek athlete who won a silver medal in taekwondo at the 2004 Athens Games.

The torch will be lit at 12:25 pm on March 24. The ceremony will take place next to the 2,600-year-old Temple of Hera. It will then start a 137,000-kilometer journey to Beijing.

Greek Olympic officials promised the flame-lighting ceremony for the Beijing Games would be held with full splendor in Ancient Olympia, an area ravaged by wildfires last year.

"We have secured all the conditions for an immaculate and simple ceremony, as history, tradition and the site dictate," Greek Olympic Committee president Minos Kyriakou said yesterday.

Six male dancers will perform the five traditional games — running, wrestling, long jump, javelin and discus — of the ancient Olympics while the flame is lit, the chief director of the ceremony has said.

IOC president Jacques Rogge will attend the lighting ceremony with Greek President Karolos Papoulias and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

Kyriakou said the flame would be carried through Greece for a week, carried more than 1,528 kilometers by 645 torchbearers.

It will make a stopover at the Acropolis before being handed over to Chinese officials at the restored ancient stadium where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896.

Forests around the birthplace of the ancient Olympics were devastated by wildfires that killed 66 people and ravaged southern Greece last year. The flames were stopped on the fringe of the ancient site.

More than 30,000 trees and shrubs have since been planted around the site.

(Shanghai Daily March 14, 2008)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read

Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
- HOC announces first torchbearer for Beijing Olympics
- HOC announces last torchbearer for Beijing Olympics
- HOC announces program of Lighting Ceremony of Olympic Flame for Beijing
- HOC confirms journey of the Olympic Flame in Greece
Most Viewed >>
- Former world No. 1 Mauresmo suffers early exit from China Open
- Olympic venues open to all
- Boca Juniors Welcome Liga de Quito for South American Cup
- Italian soccer team training session interrupted by beauties 
- Chinese Olympic champions dominate on board at FINA World Cup