June 29, 2022

The Beijing Winter Olympics on Thursday began its second day torch relay with Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan and Chinese Olympic medallists among those taking turns carrying the flame along a route shortened to three days because of COVID-19.

The relay for the torch that will open the Feb. 4-20 Winter Games is reportedly much more modest than the globe-spanning relay for Beijing’s 2008 Summer Games, a tour that was disrupted by protests.

On the second day, Olympic table tennis gold medallist Ma Long and a two-time gold medallist in taekwondo, Wu Jingyu, were among those carrying the red-and-silver spiral torch along the Badaling section of the Great Wall.

The 67 year-old Chan, a Hong Kong action and comedy film star known for his support of the Beijing government, was identified in the official press release by his Chinese name Chen Gangsheng.

Badaling, the section of the wall most often visited by tourists was built around 1500 A.D. during the Ming dynasty, and is 70 km (45 miles) northwest of central Beijing in the Yanqing district, near the Olympics sliding and Alpine skiing venues.

The torch later on Thursday will be taken to Zhangjiakou in neighbouring Hebei province, where most of Olympic snow events will take place. The relay will then end with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron at Friday’s opening ceremony.

The Games due to COVID-19 are taking place inside a closed loop keeping competitors and other Olympics personnel away from the public, and will be attended only by small, selected audiences.