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Olympic flame shines on Qingdao

Five Olympic rings formed by cheering fans.

The arrival of the Olympic flame yesterday in Qingdao, host city of the summer Olympic sailing competition from August 9 to 23, elevated the coastal city`s Olympic atmosphere to another high.

Qingdao was the first stop of the three-day, five-city torch relay in Shandong province.

A total of 259 torchbearers, including workers, students and the physically challenged, participated in the torch relay over a distance of 14.5 km.

After a short ceremony at Qingdao International Olympic Sailing Center began the relay, the city was engulfed in a festive ambience and the sound of cheers.

Zhang Xiaodong, silver medalist of sailing class A390 at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, ran the first leg.

"It is the second time for me to be a torchbearer. But it is the most significant as the Olympics will be held in our country," Zhang Xiaodong told journalists.

The highlight was a 1,000-m relay at sea. The Olympic flame was passed on the Qingdao yacht.

"I was very excited to be the first of the four torchbearers at sea. It was the most memorable time of my life. The honor I felt defies description," Guo Chuan, the skipper of Qingdao yacht, said.

Along the route, about 50 activities including folk dances, drumming and brass bands cheered torchbearers as Chinese national, Beijing Olympics and international Olympics flags waved.

Sites along the route include the sailing center, government hall and Qingdao University.

The final leg was run by Xia Geng, the mayor of the city, who lit a fire cauldron on the beach.

"The sacred flame has brought Qingdao more Olympic enthusiasm," the mayor said.

The Olympic flame then went on to Linyi in the afternoon and is scheduled to travel to Qufu, Taian and Jinan today and tomorrow.


The Olympic Sailing Center in Qingdao.

Date:2008-7-22 7:54:00     
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